The death of an inmate at the Greene County Detention Center is under investigation.
Detective Capt. Tony Williams received notification from Sheriff Steve Franks at around 8 p.m. Sept. 12, regarding a possible in-custody death. The victim was David Justin Chism, 39, of Paragould.
According to Williams’ report, when he arrived at the Detention Center (GCDC), he learned Chism had already been transported by ambulance to Arkansas Methodist Medical Center (AMMC) for treatment. Williams wrote in the report that he was escorted to the incident scene, Pod North 5 cell 4, where he took photographs.
Williams then went to the AMMC Emergency Room, where he learned Chism was pronounced deceased. Williams spoke with Greene County Coroner Dick Pace, who told him that first thing the next day (Sept. 13) Chism’s body would go the the state Crime Lab for an autopsy.
Williams returned to the GCDC to continue the investigation. No official cause of death has yet been released.
As previously reported, Paragould Police officers had arrested Chism Aug. 30 on charges of one count each of terroristic threatening and aggravated assault, both Class D felonies, plus misdemeanor charges. According to a probable cause affidavit sworn by Detective Sgt. Michael Oost, officers had responded to a residence on North Seventh Street regarding a report of a man who said another man had pointed a gun at him. Upon their arrival, officers spoke with the victim, who told them a man (later identified as Chism) had pulled up in front of his residence, pointed a gun at him and demanded he leave the city.
Moments later, a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle was reportedly in a hit-and-run collision. A witness provided officers with a photo of the vehicle’s license plate, which returned to Chism’s residence.
Officers then obtained a search warrant and had deployed a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, and Chism surrendered after negotiations.