March 14, 2007 Edition

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Deputy OK after shooting

Gretchen Hunt

Lawrence County Sheriff Dan Ellison reported Friday morning that the deputy involved in a shooting incident near Powhatan Thursday afternoon has been released from the hospital.

Virgil Lynch of Lynn was injured in the incident, but according to the sheriff, Lynch did not have any entrance or exit wounds from a bullet. The deputy did suffer injuries to his face, which may have been caused by a grazing bullet or a blow to the head.

Lynch was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital from the scene and then transferred to St. Bernards, where he was treated and released.

Ellison said the Arkansas State Police has taken over the investigation and many details, including the identity of the other individual, are not being released at this time because of the ongoing investigation.

However, he did say that the incident occurred when Lynch approached a motorcycle that was off the road on Highway 25. Ellison said Lynch had seen the motorcycle earlier in the day, but there was no one with the bike. When Lynch was circling back through a little after 4 p.m., he stopped to check out the motorcycle again.

According to Ellison, when Lynch approached the motorcycle, a man emerged from the woods and pulled a gun on the deputy. The resulting incident left both Lynch and the other man, who suffered a gunshot wound, injured. The man was also taken to LMH and then transferred to The Med in Memphis, where he remains in critical condition.

Ellison said while the man's identity is not being released, he was wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Arkansas County and they believe drugs were involved. The man is also a convicted felon.

"We are still uncertain as to a lot of the details," Ellison said, regarding facts such as how many shots had been fired. "The state will clear all of that up."

Ellison said he does know that Lynch fired his handgun, then returned to his car and got his shotgun. It is believed that the other man's injuries were caused by pellets from the shotgun.

Lynch is on paid leave until the investigation is complete.

Ellison said they were fortunate that a couple of passersby happened to be first responders and both immediately began helping Lynch and the other man.

He said the response to the scene was tremendous with the county receiving assistance from EMTs, first responders and the state police.

"Everything worked well," Ellison said. "It was an unfortunate event, but we were fortunate that Virgil was not more seriously injured."

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