Off-Duty Deputy Involved In Fort Smith Shooting Identified

FORT SMITH (KFSM) – An off-duty sheriff’s deputy who killed a man in Fort Smith on Saturday (Aug. 9) during a shootout has been identified, authorities say.

The deputy was identified as Joshua Heidelberg, according to a news release.

Justin Higgins, 23, was killed about 5:15 p.m. after being involved in a domestic dispute at 35 Aberdeen Circle, police said.

Investigators said Higgins kicked in the door of a home at Aberdeen Circle and then ran toward Jenny Lind Road and Interstate 540, where he was spotted by officers.

Police said Higgins carjacked a man at gunpoint, forcing him drive back to Aberdeen Circle, the site of the original dispute.  At that location, authorities said they were involved in a shootout with Higgins, who then fled to Bellhaven View Street.

Police said Higgins approached a home where an off-duty Sebastian County Sheriff’s deputy happened to live and attempted a second carjacking.

Heidelberg engaged Higgins as he attempted to carjack Heidelberg’s vehicle. Higgins was holding a gun to the head of a friend of Heidelberg, and he was about to drive away with that friend and Heidelberg’s three children in the car, according to a news release.

Heidelberg shot and killed Higgins using his department-issued weapon, the release states.

He is on paid administrative leave pending an internal review, according to the release.

Two Fort Smith police officers involved in the shooting incident were also placed on administrative leave. They were identified as Officer Angus Bradford and Officer Lindsay Herring, according to a different news release.

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