NEWPORT — Lt. Patrick Weatherford of the Newport Police Department spent the final hours of his life Monday doing the type of work that had earned him a reputation as a steadfast officer, co-workers and friends said.
Weatherford talked with Jackson County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rob Ratton for three hours about testifying in a circuit court hearing scheduled for Tuesday regarding a Newport man who had failed to register as a sex offender.
Just before 6 p.m., Weatherford heard a call on his police radio about someone breaking into a car near Remmel Park.
There had been a series of car burglaries in the area, and Weatherford, who worked in the Police Department’s criminal investigation division, wanted to solve the case.
He drove to Newport Avenue, where other officers had converged and spotted a man fleeing on a bicycle, police said.
As Weatherford chased him on foot, the man turned around and fired several shots from a handgun, police said.
Weatherford, 41, was struck. He died a short time later at Unity Health-Harris Medical Center in Newport, leaving behind his wife, Kristen Weatherford, a 21-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.
“We lost a very good friend and an excellent officer,” a tearful Newport Police Chief Michael Scudder said Tuesday during a news conference at City Hall. “All he wanted to do was make things better for our community.”
Police arrested an 18-year-old man in the shooting after the teen surrendered to police about 7:30 p.m. Monday, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
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