The suspect in a North Carolina child abduction case died, and a Lonoke police officer was critically wounded, after a series of events that began Saturday night in a McDonalds parking lot in Lonoke.
A 14-year-old girl, identified in an Amber alert as Savannah Grace Childress, was rescued.
Arkansas State Police, Lonoke city and Lonoke county officers, and the FBI are all involved in the investigation.
The ASP’s Criminal Investigation Division is leading the probe.
According to an ASP statement, at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday, two Lonoke police officers on patrol duty recognized a Dodge sport utility vehicle parked at the McDonald’s restaurant near Interstate 40. It appeared to be a vehicle used in connection with a North Carolina child abduction case.
Officers approached the vehicle. They could see two people inside the SUV and ordered the driver to get out of the vehicle.
The driver, later identified as William Robert Ice, 38, of Jackson Center, PA, complied with the orders, but as he exited, aimed a gun at one of the officers and began shooting, critically wounding Officer Cody Carpenter.
The second Lonoke officer, who was uninjured, returned gunfire as Ice re-entered the vehicle and fled.
An Arkansas State Trooper already in the area heard police radio communications reporting an officer down and spotted the suspect vehicle leaving the McDonald’s parking lot.
The trooper pursued the vehicle through Lonoke, south along Arkansas Highway 31, and onto Raprich Road, where it became disabled in a snowbank.
Childress fled from the vehicle and was secured by a state trooper. Inside the SUV, the trooper found Ice critically injured from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Working with sheriff’s deputies in Davidson County, NC and agents of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Arkansas troopers identified the girl as the victim in a child abduction case.
Ice, who died at a Little Rock hospital on Sunday, was also wanted by Pennsylvania law enforcement authorities in connection with other child predator cases.
His body has been submitted to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the manner and cause of death.
Carpenter, the wounded Lonoke officer, was reported in stable condition at a Little Rock hospital.
Arkansas State Police Special Agents are preparing an investigative file that will be turned-over to the Lonoke County prosecuting attorney who will decide if the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.
Agents will continue to assist other law enforcement agencies in connection with cases that may involve Ice.
Childress will be returned to North Carolina later today.
According the Pennsylvania lawmen, Pennsylvania State Police in Mercer received information on February 9 from a child abuse hotline that a 14-year-old female victim was being sexually assaulted. The sexual assaults were confirmed by the victim and a suspect was identified as Ice. A warrant was issued for Ice on several charges.
Ice also had a pending criminal case for charges resulting from an online sting conducted by the Human Trafficking Task Force in Ohio.