WASHINGTON COUNTY, AR – An Adair County Sheriff’s deputy is currently under investigation following a non-fatal shooting that took place while he was off-duty and embroiled in a physical altercation with the property owner’s son outside of the home he rents. According to authorities, this individual shot also happens to have been an inmate once under the deputy’s supervision while previously jailed.
The incident reportedly occurred slightly before 6:00 p.m. on September 3rd at the residence of Adair County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Adams, who was reportedly renting out a property in Washington County, Arkansas, which borders Adair County in Kentucky.
Specifics on what precisely led up to the altercation aren’t clear at this time, but witness video of the incident appears to show Deputy Adams having a heated encounter with a man identified as Justin Hellyer, who is the son of the property owner Deputy Adams was renting from.
In the video from the incident, Deputy Adams can be seen holding a firearm with his right hand and pointing outwardly with his left hand while repeatedly telling Hellyer to “get the fuck off” the property.
Hellyer seemed undeterred by the presence of the firearm, telling Deputy Adams on several occasions “shoot me” while physically closing in on the off-duty deputy, who at one point shoved Hellyer in order to keep him from getting inches from his face.
Based upon the verbal exchange between the off-duty deputy and Hellyer, the heated encounter seems to have been related to Deputy Adams’ tenancy at the rental property, as the deputy can be heard saying, “I still have time to fucking leave,” with Hellyer responding, “Well, goddam I have every right to be here, this is my goddam property. I was coming to look to see what fucking needs to be done once you’re fucking gone.”
Shortly after the abovementioned exchange, Hellyer and Deputy Adams begin to get physically entangled again, with Hellyer appearing to grab the off-duty deputy’s throat during the altercation. Deputy Adams reportedly fired off two rounds at Hellyer, hitting the individual in the stomach.
Hellyer was rushed to Washington Regional Medical Center, where he was last reported as being in critical condition, whereas Adair County Sheriff Jason Ritchie confirmed that the deputy was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation being led by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Ritchie is standing by his deputy following the incident, claiming that the shooting “looks like a stand your ground situation to me.” The Adair County Sheriff also invoked Hellyer’s past as having been an inmate at the Adair County Jail, emphasizing that Deputy Adams had overseen Hellyer as an inmate in the past.
“When you have a former inmate show up on your property, and they won’t leave, to anyone in law enforcement, it can be a scary situation, especially if you don’t know their full intentions.”
However, the incident bears elements that are a bit more complex than an ‘open-and-shut’ stand-your-ground/self-defense case, considering that Hellyer appears to have been functioning as a sort of extension of the landlord when he arrived on the property.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t publicly speculated on the case, as they’re opting to simply handle the investigation and hand off their findings to the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney for review.
This piece was written by Gregory Hoyt on September 11, 2022. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.
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