May 14, 2014 Edition

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Use of force by officers justified

Gretchen Hunt

Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce announced on Thursday that no criminal charges will be filed in a police-involved shooting that occurred in Walnut Ridge on April 23.

The incident involved two Delaplaine residents who were involved in a domestic dispute as they were traveling down Highway 34 in separate vehicles. WRPD Chief Richy Thatcher said officers responded to a 911 call that came in around 2 a.m.

"A lady called saying her soon-to-be ex-husband was following her and harassing her," Thatcher said.

He said the two vehicles traveled into Walnut Ridge on Highway 34 and when officers intercepted them they appeared to have wrecked, and the male subject (later identified as Elijah Waltman, 52) was shooting at the vehicle the female (Marcella Waltman, 44) was in.

According to Thatcher, WRPD officers on the scene were Jordan Cooksey and Matthew Schutzius.

According to the report, the male subject then started toward the officers, stopped and shot himself in the side, then turned toward officers again.

"That is when he was shot," Thatcher said.

Boyce released the following statement, "After reviewing the State Police investigation file and having interviewed investigators and reviewed statements of witnesses, it is my opinion that the shooting of Elijah Waltman by Walnut Ridge police officers was justified and no criminal charges are warranted.

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