Prosecutor: Fayetteville officers justified in shooting of gunman who killed Stephen Carr

Officer Natalie Eucce and Cpl. Seay Floyd

Officer Natalie Eucce and Cpl. Seay Floyd were justified in their use of deadly force against the gunman who killed former Fayetteville police officer Stephen Carr, according to the Washington County prosecutor.

Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett on Monday cleared the two officers of any criminal wrongdoing in their shooting of London Phillips, who shot and killed Carr while he was waiting for his partner in his vehicle behind the police station on Dec. 7.

An investigation found that both officers were inside the station when they heard several gunshots coming from the parking lot outside. Cpl. Floyd looked out of a door and saw Phillips firing multiple shots at Carr’s vehicle. An autopsy found that Phillips shot Carr 10 times in the head.

As Cpl. Floyd came out of the door, Phillips saw him, loaded another magazine into his gun, and ran west. Floyd then fired multiple shots at Phillips.

Shortly afterwards, Officer Eucce and Sgt. James Jennings cam out of another door to the east. As Eucce passed by Carr’s patrol vehicle, she saw that he had been shot. She sent an “officer down” call out over the radio, while Cpl. Floyd stated he heard. Eucce and Jennings were directed west by an off-duty officer who had witness most of the shooting.

Jennings arrived to where Floyd was searching for Phillips, and was followed by Eucce. As Floyd passed the west side of the alley between the police station and the city prosecutor’s office, he saw Phillips in a crouched position moving toward Eucce. Floyd called out to the other officers, and Eucce noticed that Phillips was holding a black handgun, which he pointed at her. Believing that Phillips was about to shoot her, Eucce fired multiple shots at him. Floyd also fired numerous shots at Phillips.

After Phillips was down, Cpl. Floyd began to handcuff him and noticed that he’d been shot multiple times. Floyd found Phillips’ gun which was loaded with a round in the chamber. Floyd then searched Phillips and found two boxes of ammunition, along with an empty magazine. Floyd began administering first aid to Phillips until first responders arrived.

Arkansas law permits the use of deadly force when a person reasonably believes that another is about to commit a felony involving violence or is about to use unlawful deadly physical force. State law also justifies the use of deadly physical force by a law enforcement officer if the officer reasonably believes it is necessary to effect an arrest of a person who the officer believes has committed a felony and is presently armed and dangerous. It also allows the use of deadly force when it is necessary for an officer to defend themself or a third party from the imminent use of deadly physical force.

Durrett said in his opinion, all of those provisions apply in the officers’ interactions with Phillips.

“Not only was it necessary for Officer Eucce and Cpl. Floyd to employ deadly force, in my judgement, it was heroic,” said Durrett. “They not only saved their own lives, but also, most likely, many more.”

Durrett said it is reasonable to believe, especially in light of the fact that Phillips had a large amount of ammunition with him, he would not have hesitated to kill other innocent people.

Fayetteville Police Sgt. Anthony Murphy said Floyd and Eucce will remain on paid leave until a internal department investigation has been completed.