Fifth Judicial Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons has declined to prosecute a man who shot an acquaintance in the leg July 18 in the Wal-Mart parking lot on East Main Street.
William Garfield Farr, 50, was arrested later that night in connection with the shooting after he fled the scene without notifying authorities of the incident, a circumstance Gibbons called “troubling” in a memo sent Wednesday to Russellville Police Department Det. Mark Frost, which was provided to The Courier.
A witness recorded Farr’s license plate number as he drove away, according to a July 20 article by Scott Perkins and Janie Ginocchio.
In a July 20 bond hearing held at the Pope County Detention Center, District Judge Don Bourne ordered Farr held on a $25,000 commercial bond. At that time, the alleged victim, Ben Lopez, was in stable condition at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, according to testimony by Frost.
Gibbons cited Arkansas Criminal Act 5-2-607 in the memo, which provides that “a person is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if he reasonably believes that the other person is: (1) Committing or about to commit a felony involving force or violence; (2) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force; [or] (3) Imminently endangering his or her life.”
In the memo, Gibbons wrote despite Farr’s failure to call police and fleeing, “from the evidence, it is clear that Lopez was the initial aggressor and entered Farr’s vehicle while possessing a knife. Farr retreated to the passenger side of his vehicle, a point beyond which he could go no further with complete safety.”
“Although disputed by Lopez,” Gibbons continued, “the credible evidence is that Lopez struck at Farr with the knife injuring Farr’s lip. At that point, Farr shot Lopez in the leg with a handgun which he was authorized to carry under Arkansas Law.”
Frost testified July 20 officers found a knife at the scene. During that hearing, Farr appeared to have a small cut on his upper lip consistent with a superficial knife wound.
Gibbons wrote he anticipates filing battery charges against Lopez in connection with the incident.
It remains unclear how the two came to meet in the parking lot, as well as what caused the encounter to turn violent.