UPDATE: Detective in Shooting Death “Likely” Linked to Los Angeles Lawsuits

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Washington County detective Lewis Scott McAfee, who was placed on paid administrative leave in the shooting and killing of a Farmington man Monday, was a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in the 1980s, a county official said.

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy named Lewis Scott McAfee was a defendant in three 1984 lawsuits accusing him and a partner of using excessive force, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Lindsi Huffaker, Washington County human resource director, confirmed Thursday McAfee was a  Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, but she could not verify he is the same person involved in the 1984 lawsuits. However, she said he likely is the same person.

One man in Southern California who said his leg was shattered by McAfee and his partner agreed to an undisclosed settlement in his $5-million lawsuit against Los Angeles County, the Times reported.

McAfee and his partner also were sued in Los Angeles Superior Court  by the father of a 20-year-old Seattle man whom the deputies shot and killed in 1984, according to the Times. The father's lawsuit alleged the deputies used "mortal and unreasonable force" in shooting the son eight times, the newspaper reported.

Liz Martinez, a court employee, said Friday she could not locate information showing how that suit was resolved.

The Lewis Scott McAfee who worked in Los Angeles County was 28 years old in 1984, the Times reported.

Huffaker said she is prohibited from releasing McAfee's age but added he has been employed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office since 1995.

McAfee on Monday shot and killed Joshua Adam Thomas, 38, of Farmington after going to his house to question him about  a reported child sexual assault , said Kelly Cantrell, sheriff’s office spokeswoman.  Cantrell said McAfee tried to arrest Thomas, but the man raised a crowbar and swung it at him before being shot once.

The sheriff’s office is investigating whether McAfee  followed  policy and procedures, Cantrell said. The Arkansas State Police also is investigating, she said.

McAfee also was involved in a 2004 shooting that left Victor Barron, a 59-year-old mule trader, dead  at his home in the Wheeler section of Washington County.  McAfee was exonerated by the prosecuting attorney’s office and an internal investigation.

Barron’s wife, Joyce, said Thursday McAfee and other deputies went to their home after receiving a report that a woman who was visiting the house was considering suicide. Barron said she was at her job at Tyson Foods at the time but was later told by deputies at the scene that McAfee had been involved in “some things” in California.

“They told us it was not the first time, and it would not be the last,” she said.

Fayetteville resident Sharon Green said Friday officers must make instant decisions in life-and-death situations and that she wouldn't want to second guess how they do their jobs. Her brother is a Washington County sheriff's deputy, she said.

"If they hesitate, their life is in danger," she said.

Green said a deputy's good deeds never make news.

"How many lives do they save every day?" she asked.