Hours after arresting a man in connection with Saturday’s shooting death of an off-duty Arkansas officer, police reportedly dropped the charges after determining that he wasn’t the killer.
Per WMC, the West Memphis Police Department arrested Bobby Patterson on Tuesday morning after witnesses identified him as the man who shot and killed Forrest City officer Oliver Johnson Jr., 25. However, police announced at 12:15 p.m. that capital murder charges against Patterson were dropped after he provided authorities with a viable alibi.
The alibi, police said, would make it impossible to have been the person who shot Johnson. WMC reported Patterson is still charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. It’s unclear whether he’s still in custody.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, a vehicle passing Johnson’s West Memphis apartment Saturday afternoon opened fire, fatally shooting the father-of-two. The fallen officer’s family told WREG that Johnson’s two young daughters were home at the time.
At this point, investigators don’t believe that Johnson was targeted. Lt. Eric Varner recently told WREG that the fallen officer’s family—his fiancee and two young daughters—might be ineligible for an insurance payout as he wasn’t killed on the job.
“If it’s not shown through the investigation that he was actually targeted, then a lot of the benefits we get are only for line-of-duty, and that wouldn’t be listed as a line-of-duty death,” Varner explained.
Varner said he created a GoFundMe to provide financial relief for the officer’s family.
He said, “They’re desperately in need of help. Nothing’s going to make it right, but I think support is what they need right now.”
Johnson will be laid to rest on Saturday, May 12 at First Baptist Church in West Memphis. His killer is still on the loose.
[Featured Image: Oliver Johnson, Jr./Facebook]