Police fatally shoot armed man in northeast Arkansas, but his family says he was running away

A northeast Arkansas man was fatally shot by police who say the 33-year-old pointed a gun at them, but family members say the shooting happened as he was running away from the officers.

Three members of the Osceola Police Department say Keivion Jones pointed a rifle at them outside a home before they opened fire Wednesday morning, Arkansas State Police said in a news release. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

However, Jones’ family disputes that account. His uncle, Andrew Alexander, told WHBQ-TV in Memphis that he witnessed the episode and that Jones was shot more than a dozen times in the back as he ran away.

Alexander said Jones was holding a rifle but did not pose a threat when he was killed.

The Osceola Police Department declined to answer questions Thursday or provide details about the shooting. The episode is being investigated by the Arkansas State Police, which is standard when police use deadly force. The file will be turned over to a prosecutor to decide whether the use of force was consistent with state law.

The Osceola officers say they were investigating a report of someone who had pointed a rifle at a convenience store employee, state police said. The officers arrived at the house “after locating a vehicle there that had been driven by a suspect” in the convenience store altercation, the statement said.

Jones came out of the home and was shot after he pointed a rifle at the officers, the statement said, without specifying how manty shots were fired or if all three officers opened fire.

Alexander told WHBQ-TV that Jones arrived at the home with police close behind.

“They got out with their guns already out, they said ‘Keivion, drop the weapon.’ And he said, ‘Man y’all know I got a license to carry,’” Alexander said. “I had started walking. Next thing I know, he turns around to run and they just start shooting.”

Jones’ mother, Gloria Clark, told WHBQ-TV that her son was married with four children, and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in 2015.

“My son had a mental illness, but that still doesn’t justify if he had his back turned to shoot him 15 times,” Clark said.