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Family, friends remember Arkansas detention officer following fatal shooting

Family and friends are still processing after 21-year-old Jeremiah Story was fatally shot while working as a detention officer at the Perry County Detention Center.

PERRY COUNTY, Ark. — The Perry County community is simply heartbroken following the fatal shooting of one of their own. 

"I really didn't think it was true," said Beverly Ussery.

Her kids went to school with 21-year-old Jeremiah Story, who was the victim of the shooting that happened at the Perry County Jail, where he worked as a detention officer.

"His smile was infectious," Ussery said.

Story was an athlete who did it all, and wanted to serve his country after high school.

Story did just that, as he enlisted in the United States Army after he graduated in 2018.

Ussery remembers the positive attitude that Story had and the willingness to always lend a hand to so many in this small community.

"When you heard Jeremiah's name, it was usually in church [and] him helping the youth. Or on the football field helping the younger kids," Ussery said.

Story's life was sadly cut short Wednesday night after the deadly shooting at Perry County Jail.

RELATED: Police: Victim, suspect identified in shooting at Arkansas jail

"It just hit us to the core in our community," Ussery said.

According to Arkansas State Police, 37-year-old Roderick Lewis was being booked into the Perry County Detention Center on drug charges.

While working as a detention officer, Story was shot as he stood in a restroom where Lewis was changing from civilian attire into clothing issued by the jail.

Unfortunately, Story died at a Conway hospital early Thursday morning.

"In times of sadness and in times of happiness, we are always there for each other," Deloise McDonough, a family friend said.

McDonough is best friends with Jeremiah's aunt, and for them Jeremiah felt like family.

"We always had family get togethers down there and Jeremiah was just in the midst of it all," McDonough said.

Those memories are helping the two cope with this tragedy.

"We come together. We are small, but when something tragic happens, we come together and we are mighty," Ussery said. 

McDonough said the sun will rise tomorrow.

She also can't help but believe Jeremiah will reunite with the family members he loved so dearly.

"He's in heaven with Nanny Malla and they're probably playing dominoes because that was one of their favorite things to do," McDonough said. 

According to Arkansas State Police, the gun reportedly used by Lewis was one he possessed when he arrived at the jail while in the custody of local sheriff’s deputies.

Lewis is currently being held at the Faulkner County Jail and is being charged with capital murder. 

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