LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK/FOX16/WKBN/WGHP)- Arkansas State Police confirmed Sunday that a shooting that injured a Lonoke police officer Saturday night was connected to the recovery of an abducted teen from North Carolina and the suspect in the case has died.
Lonoke police say Officer Cody Carpenter was shot multiple times, but “is expected to make a full recovery and is in good spirits given the circumstances.”
Lonoke police say the 14-year-old victim has been returned to her family in North Carolina.
Authorities say the suspect, identified as William Ice, 38, of Jackson Center, Pennsylvania, was shot and later died.
According to a news release sent by Arkansas State Police, a state trooper found Ice on Highway 31 critically injured from what preliminary appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Earlier, two Lonoke police officers, identified by the Lonoke Police Department as Officers Carpenter and Brandon Ray, recognized a Dodge sport utility vehicle parked at the McDonald’s near Interstate 40 at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday. State police say it appeared to be a vehicle used in connection to a North Carolina child abduction case.
Lonoke Police say Carpenter was the first officer on scene.
The officers got out of their car and approached the suspect’s vehicle, saw two people inside and ordered the driver to get out of the vehicle, according to officials.
Authorities say Ice complied but as he got out of the SUV, aimed a gun at one of the officers and started shooting, critically wounding Officer Carpenter.
State police say Officer Ray returned fire as Ice got into the SUV and drove off.
ASP officials say a state trooper who was already in the area heard police radio communications reporting an officer down and saw the suspect vehicle leaving the McDonald’s parking lot.
Authorities say the state trooper pursued the vehicle through Lonoke South along Arkansas Highway 31 onto Raprich Road, where it got stuck in a snowbank.
Officials say a 14-year-old teenage girl, who was a passenger in the SUV, got out and was secured by a state trooper.
According to Lonoke Police, Ice was life-flighted to the nearest hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
According to a news release from the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, an investigation into the missing 14-year-old began on February 11. Davidson County deputies say it was discovered the teen was using her school-issued computer to communicate with a person, later identified as Ice, using multiple online platforms.
Investigators say Ice was also talking to several other girls in Alamance County, North Carolina.
According to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, investigators determined Ice took the 14-year-old girl from her home on February 11.
Carpenter lives in Lonoke and in addition to joining the Lonoke Police Department full-time in January, is a volunteer fireman with the Lonoke Fire Department and a National Guardsman at Camp Robinson.
Lonoke Police say Carpenter has multiple years of experience as a law enforcement officer.
According to Lonoke police, Ray is currently on administrative leave. Ray has been with the police department since 2019. Lonoke police say Ray “is expected to make an honorable return to duty as soon as the Arkansas State Police have concluded their investigation into the shooting.”
State police say they are investigating the officer-involved shooting, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina and Pennsylvania State Police are involved in the child abduction investigation.