BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA) – Two Northwest Arkansas men accused of purposefully shooting one another while wearing bulletproof vests pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault.
Charles Eugene Ferris, 50, and Christopher Hicks, 36, made their not guilty plea in Benton County Circuit Court on Monday, according to an official with the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Authorities arrested both men on April 1 after they took turns shooting one another while wearing a bullet-resistant vest, according to a probable cause affidavit.
A Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputy was called to Mercy Hospital on March 31 to investigate a man shot multiple times while wearing a bulletproof vest, according to the affidavit.
The deputy spoke to Ferris, who had a red spot on his chest, the affidavit states.
Ferris told an elaborate story to try and cover up the truth, according to the affidavit.
He said someone from the edge of a tree line began shooting at him and the “asset” on Highway 12, according to the affidavit.
Ferris changed his story about the incident and said he did not want to get Hicks in trouble, so he made up his prior story, according to the affidavit.
Ferris then told the deputy what really happened and said he had been drinking on his back deck with Hicks and wanted Hicks to shoot him as he wore the vest.
Hicks shot Ferris with a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle, the affidavit states.
The bullet hit the top left corner of the vest stopping the bullet but leaving a red mark.
Ferris told police he was “pissed” and Hicks put the vest on, the affidavit states.
Ferris then “unloaded the clip into Hicks’ back,” according to an incident report.
None of the rounds from the .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle penetrated the vest.