PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department released the name Wednesday of the officer involved in an early morning shooting Saturday at a Pine Bluff night club. Randy Jackson, an 8-year veteran of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, is on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete. The sheriff's department would not say if he was on duty or not at the time of the shooting.
"He wasn't acting like an officer, he was acting more like a criminal himself," said the shooting victim's mother, Gail Lang. Her son, 36-year-old Dedric Jones was still in the hospital Wednesday recovering from a gunshot wound. He told Lang he was an innocent bystander.
"He told me that there was an altercation between the deputy and another individual, you know, just something personal and I think a female was involved," said Lang. "I don't think he knew, when he walked into the situation, what the situation was. He didn't even know that the person involved was a sheriff's criminal investigator."
"We know that there's a lot of speculation based on a couple things, based on talks from people in the community that may not have involvement, they're going based on what they've heard and speculation," said Major Lafayette Woods of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. "It certainly raises some questions, and we know that, but we ask that they not speculate because it's still premature. It would be counterproductive for us to actually comment further on the case in terms of details but there are several different things that are going to be considered to evaluate whether there was any wrongdoing on the officer's part."
Major Woods says the Jefferson County Sheriff's department is conducting a separate investigation from the criminal investigation, which is being handled by Pine Bluff police.
"We want to make sure that there's no impression or appearance of improprieties on the part of our officer, especially when you've got an officer-involved shooting," said Woods. "We want to make sure there are other individuals involved in that that are supposed to be neutral that can make that decision or concur with our decision based on our administrative investigation."
According to police reports Jackson and another man got into an altercation in the Swann's Bar & Lounge and were kicked out by security. Shortly after that the security guard heard a gunshot and said he returned to find Jones on the ground and Jackson leaving in a pickup truck. The eyewitness said Jackson was wearing a badge at the time.
"This officer is afforded due process like any other citizen," said Woods. "We will make sure we do a thorough investigation, I can say that."
"I hope that he's treated just like any other criminal," said Lang. "If it would have been my son doing the shooting he would have gone straight to jail and no questions asked until later."
"We just ask the public to be patient," added Woods. "Mr. Jackson is not going anywhere, he's not a flight risk we don't think, he has made himself available to both the criminal investigator who's investigating this as well as our office so we don't have any reason to believe that we're going to be hampered by not speeding the process up."
The Jefferson County prosecutor said he still has more information to gather before he decides whether to file any criminal charges in the case. He said it could be at least a week before that happens.