Police search for a burglary suspect in the Forest Heights area of Little Rock. (Photo: Chris Ross/THV 11 News)
Police shut down University Avenue at H Street after a manhunt for a burglary suspect. (Photo: Chris Ross/THV 11 News)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Little Rock police identified the suspect who was shot and killed by an officer Thursday morning.
Sgt. Cassandra Davis said Kenzell Hobbs, 18, of North Little Rock, died of his injuries following a string of car burglaries and a manhunt that took place along University Avenue.
Sgt. Davis told THV 11 News that police received a call around 5:45 a.m. Thursday regarding three suspicious people reportedly breaking into cars at Linden Court on N. Pierce Street. When officers arrived, they found several cars that had been broken into and a vehicle-reported stolen out of North Little Rock-that the suspects appeared to be using. Davis said in side that car, police found a weapon and a two-way radio.
While investigating, officers on the scene reported that they heard several shots fired near their proximity and began to search the area; they only found two suspects fleeing the scene on foot.
Davis said the first suspect was found some time later hiding in some bushes.
Using the radio found in the car, officers were able to learn that the second suspect, Hobbs, was trying to get onto a city bus at University Avenue and H Street. Davis said when one of the officers tried to take Hobbs into custody, a struggle ensued, and the officer found a hand gun in the waist band of the Hobbs' pants; Hobbs broke away again and fled.
A statement from the police department indicated that after a short chase, Hobbs stopped, turned around, and opened fire on the pursuing officer. That officer returned fire, and Hobbs ran into a wooded area and hid until police were able to find him and take him into custody.
According to Sgt. Davis, Hobbs had been shot at least one time in the upper torso, and later died at UAMS Hospital.
The officer who opened fire was only indentified as Officer Stephen Gorbet. Davis said he was not harmed, but the officer that had a previously struggled with Hobbs at the bus stop was treated and released for minor injuries.
The initial call reported witnesses seeing three suspects, so police continued to search the area in case there was a third person involved. Later on Thursday, Davis announced that a third person had been detained, but they may or may not be the third suspect police were looking for. They are not revealing his information until they learn more.
Authorities had locked down Forest Heights Middle School and Hall High School as a precaution. University Avenue at H Street was shut down, but has now reopened to traffic.
Michelle, a resident at Linden Court who did not want to reveal her last name, tells THV 11 the break-in comes as no surprise.
"Because we've had a couple of robberies in this neighborhood a couple times in the last seven months," says Michelle.
Davis said that at this time, no one has been officially charged, and investigators will continue work on this case.