16-year-old charged in shooting death of Arkansas police officer

Patrick Weatherford

Lt. Patrick Weatherford, 41, of Newport, was shot and killed in the line of duty last month. (Photo: Arkansas State Police)

Two Arkansas teens were charged Wednesday with counts related to last month’s fatal shooting of Newport Police Lt. Patrick Weatherford.

Derrick Heard, 16, was charged as an adult on counts of capital murder, attempted capital murder, breaking or entering, theft of property, and possession of a handgun by a minor. Tyler Calamese, 18, is charged with breaking or entering, theft of property, and furnishing a deadly weapon to a minor. Both are due to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court next week, according to reports from local media.

Calamese, who turned himself after an hours-long manhunt following the shooting, was originally THV 11. “He doesn’t know what to think. He’s trying to protect us. I know my son and that’s what he’s trying to do.”

Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce called the investigation “an intensive effort,” and noted that officials are confident the evidence supports the charges.

Authorities say the shooting unfolded while Weatherford and another officer were responding to a call about a break-in. After the call, the officers saw Heard, who matched the description of the suspect, near the location of the crime.

When the officers attempted to make contact, Heard fled on a bicycle, then ditched the bike and fled on foot. According to the Newport Police Department, Weatherford noticed a handgun during the pursuit and relayed that information to dispatch.

As the pursuit continued, Heard and Weatherford engaged in an exchange of gunfire. Heard, who also fired toward the second officer but missed, was uninjured, while Weatherford was struck multiple times.

Weatherford was transported to the hospital and died a short time later.

At some point during the pursuit, authorities lost track of Heard. It’s unclear how Heard ended up in custody, but he admitted to firing the shots during the pursuit, as well as breaking into a vehicle while attempting to escape.

If convicted of capital murder, Heard could face the death penalty.