It wasn’t a typical Friday afternoon at Walmart.
Or for that matter, a typical crime for an officer to be hit by a car and a shoplifting suspect shot, said Bartlett Police Capt. Marlon Jones.
“The incident is definitely isolated, but it is very unusual (for Bartlett),” said Jones, who acts as the communications officer for the department.
The officer, who Bartlett Police have not identified yet, was treated at Saint Francis-Bartlett and released. The suspect who was shot – 37-year-old Tavarius Jones – was still recovering at The Med as of Tuesday afternoon.
But while everything was calm and back to normal at the Walmart on Stage Road, it was anything but that on Friday afternoon.
The store went on lockdown after Jones returned to the store. According to witnesses and police reports, Jones left a trail blood through the store, as he was yelling, “I’ve been shot!” Employees and shoppers were moved to the back of the store until police apprehended him.
Just a few minutes before, the police officer who was injured was investigating a minor traffic accident in Walmart’s congested parking lot. A call came across his radio for shoplifters fleeing from inside.
The officer saw the three men – Jones, Damien Hollis (34) and Harold Thompson (39) – jump into a 1999 blue Chevrolet Malibu, the reports said. The officer yelled at Jones, who was the driver, to stop. But witnesses on the scene heard Hollis encourage Jones to run over the Bartlett officer. And that’s just what happened.
The officer was able to get out his service revolver and shoot several times, striking Jones in the arm, the reports said.
“You have shoplifting everywhere,” said Capt. Jones. “These were just common everyday criminals.”
Despite his injuries, the officer was able to take custody of Thompson at the scene. Jones was arrested inside Walmart, while Hollis went into police custody at the nearby Firebirds restaurant, to where he had fled.
Jones has been charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy to commit theft over $500, felony evading arrest by a motor vehicle and driving while his license was suspended. Hollis has been charged with criminal conspiracy to commit theft over $500 and criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. Thompson faces charges of criminal conspiracy to commit theft over $500 and possession of tools to interfere with anti-theft devices.