A suspect in a shooting incident involving Paragould Police officers now faces additional charges.
Taj Christopher Harris, 21, of Paragould, now faces charges of one count each of possession of a firearm by certain persons (i.e. a convicted felon), and revocation of probation, both Class D felonies.
The charges are in addition to one count each of attempted first-degree battery, a Class A felony; aggravated assault and theft by receiving (a firearm valued less than $2,500), both Class D felonies; plus misdemeanor charges.
The original charges proceeded from a Feb. 7 incident in which one of the department’s officers reportedly encountered a man he knew to be Harris in the vicinity of Walnut and Second Street, and knew he had an active arrest warrant.
When the officer made contact with Harris, he reportedly gave him a false name. As the officer attempted to arrest him, Harris reportedly produced a firearm and shot at the officer. According to an affidavit for arrest, he fled on foot as he continued firing at the officer. A pursuit ensued, and ended with Harris being taken into custody.
The firearm taken from Harris had been reported stolen. Subsequent investigation of the incident scene resulted in one round being dug out of a fence directly behind where the officer had been standing when Harris allegedly fired at him.
Meanwhile, both officers involved in the incident, Cpl. Sam Yates and Cpl. Joe Craft, have been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation and a psychological evaluation.
“I don’t see any issue with them coming back to work,” said department public information officer Capt. Brad Snyder, “assuming they clear the psychological evaluation.”
Snyder added the placement of both officers on paid administrative leave in the wake of an officer-involved shooting incident pending investigation and evaluation is a department protocol.
Yates has been with the department for 5 ½ years, while Craft has been on the force for 4 ½ years.
Harris is being held without bond in the Greene County Detention Center.