MARION, Ark. — Police officers fatally shot a 16-year-old boy outside an emergency shelter for juveniles in eastern Arkansas and a criminal investigation is underway, state police said.
The shooting happened Tuesday night at East Arkansas Youth Services in Marion, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northwest of Memphis, Tennessee. Arkansas State Police said in a release that Marion police officers responded to the shelter at 7:08 p.m. Tuesday and “moments later” reported that a teenager had been shot and wounded by police.
State police said Wednesday that Aries Clark died overnight at a Memphis hospital.
Police and the state Department of Human Services wouldn’t say why officers had been called to the shelter or what happened in the moments before the shooting. State police said the findings of the criminal investigation would be forwarded to prosecutors to determine whether the shooting was justified.
State police would not say whether Clark was a resident at the facility. Marion Police have not returned a message seeking comment Wednesday. Little Rock television station KATV reported that two officers were on paid administrative leave during the investigation, but said the department is not releasing their names.
East Arkansas Youth Services is a nonprofit that “provides positive alternatives to institutionalization” for at-risk children, according to its website. It offers nonresidential services for boys and girls from ages 8 to 18, and residential services for boys in the same age range. Madelyn Keith, the nonprofit’s executive director and CEO, said in a Facebook post that no one in the facility was harmed and that its managers and staff have cooperated with investigators.
“We also request your prayers for our operations and specifically for all individuals and entities involved in this incident. In turn we also offer our sincere prayers for all affected by this event,” wrote Keith, who declined to comment beyond the post.
Department spokeswoman Amy Webb said the shelter contracts with the state to provide services to children in foster care and children who have been involved in the juvenile justice system. Webb declined to comment on the shooting or say whether the boy had received services at the youth shelter. Webb said the facility has had a “favorable compliance history” without any current issues or concerns.