HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A man who was allegedly threatening tourists with a gun was shot multiple times after he became engaged in a firefight with a Hot Springs police officer.
Police identified the suspect as 31-year-old Jonathan Allen Scott.
Multiple reports confirmed that Scott was critically injured after a calm Sunday afternoon erupted into chaos in a busy downtown area, which is known to draw a large gathering of tourists.
Authorities originally received a number of calls that Scott was threatening tourists near Hot Springs National Park in the Bathhouse Row area of Hot Springs, and could be seen “pumping a gun” in the faces of people in the area.
Officers responded to the 500 block of Central Avenue around 12:30 p.m. to make contact with a disorderly subject in the downtown area. The suspect was reported to have a firearm. Once at the scene, they approached the gunman.
When they engaged Scott, Hot Springs Officer 1st Class Johnathan Smith was shot, struck twice by Scott’s gunfire.
#BREAKING Large police presence in downtown Hot Springs after witnesses say they heard gunshots. Still trying to confirm with police what happened #ARnews pic.twitter.com/3kHeutnSUp
— Greg Yarbrough (@GregYarbrough) July 28, 2019
Smith’s fellow officers on the scene immediately began firing on Scott, disarming and critically wounding him.
Officer Smith was rushed to the hospital and was treated for his injuries. He is expected to make a full recovery.
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Scott was said to have been suffering from severe injuries and was listed in critical condition at the hospital on Sunday night.
One video caught on camera seems to show Scott behaving erratically and fumbling with a shotgun as he walked through the crowded streets.
TAKE A LOOK ?: James Sutherland at National Parks Gifts and Souvenirs In Hot Springs shared this video with us. You can see a man pulling a shot gun out of his pants and walking down Central Avenue. pic.twitter.com/666954lPRB
— Re’Chelle Turner (@ReChelle_Turner) July 28, 2019
The Hot Springs PD posted to social media to thank everyone for their prayers and support.
“We appreciate everyone’s continued thoughts and prayers,” the post read.
No bystanders were injured during the frightening public exchange. One woman said she took cover behind a brick wall when she saw Scott armed with a gun.
“When that happened, I took the kids and we went and hid behind a brick wall,” she said. “A while later, we heard about half a dozen gunshots. When we saw the cops, we knew it was safe, so we started walking again and saw two cops standing next to a body.”
Witness accounts of the incident pointed out how chaotic it was… but how quickly officers handled the dangerous situation.
“All of a sudden, I looked and they (officers and the suspect) were just shooting at each other. It happened so quick. I didn’t see the man but about five police officers had their weapons drawn and shot about six times,” said Nina Gordon, of Hot Springs.
USA Today reported that the officers involved in the shooting will be put on paid leave pending an investigation, which is set to be conducted by Arkansas State Police and the Garland County Sheriff’s Department.