Arkansas officers injured in Walmart shooting recovering

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FORREST CITY, Ark. (CNN) – One of two police officers injured in a shooting at a Walmart in Arkansas is now out of the hospital.

The officers were met with gunfire after responding to a complaint.

At a Monday afternoon news conference — Forrest City Police Chief Deon Lee said the two detectives shot were working in the area when the call came in about a man threatening people inside the Walmart and that’s why they responded along with patrol officers.

The two detectives did not have on bullet proof vests.

“You don’t wake up in the morning, imagine something like this is going to happen. Unfortunately that’s the business we’re in. all these guys know the risks and they welcome the challenges,” said Lee.

Officials identified the officers as Lieutenant Eric Varner and detective Eugene Watlington.

Chief Lee said Varner had 16 or 17 years on the force and Watlington was a seasoned officer who moved to the investigations division roughly a year ago.

Varner was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

Watlington was taken to regional one in Memphis — where he underwent surgery Monday afternoon.

“Initial prognosis seems he’s going to be okay. He’s doing better than we expected,” said Lee.

Local, state, and federal agencies all responded to Monday’s shooting.

Arkansas state police is leading the investigation.

Forrest City’s mayor says a man who shot the two police officers is dead.

They have identified the suspect as 40-year-old Bobby Joe Gibbs.

Police say Gibbs was shot and killed after he exchanged gunfire with officers.

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