Arkansas State Police said in a statement that 35-year-old Detective Kevin Collins, a five year veteran of the Pine Bluff Police Department, was pronounced dead around 2 p.m. local time after being taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center following a shooting at a motel in Pine Bluff.
“We’re hurting. We have lost a family member today, so we’re hurting,” Pine Bluff Police Department Chief Kelvin Sergeant said during a press conference on Monday.
He asked for prayers for the officer’s family.
Lieutenant Detective Ralph Isaac, 42, who has been with the Pine Bluff Police Department for 20 years, was injured in the shooting. A third detective, Kelsey Collins, who has been with the department for two years, escaped injury.
All three officers were assigned to the violent crimes unit and were pursuing an ongoing local criminal investigation when they arrived at Econo Lodge Motel around 12:05 p.m. local time, and were “met with gunfire,” Arkansas State Police said.
Two suspects have been taken in for questioning by state police after they were treated for injuries from the shooting at a local hospital.
Collins was named “Officer of the Year” for 2017 at the department’s annual Awards Banquet for his actions in July 2017 when he rescued a 95-year-old woman from an apartment fire, reported The Pine Bluff Commercial.
“I always wanted to be a police officer,” he told the outlet at the time. “Ever since I was little. I saw law enforcement as a service and something I could be proud of.”
Arkansas’s Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson sent condolences, writing on Twitter, “I am saddened to learn of the Pine Bluff Police Officer shot and killed in the line of duty today. Our prayers are with the officer’s family, the Pine Bluff Police Department and the law enforcement community.”
I am saddened to learn of the Pine Bluff Police Officer shot and killed in the line of duty today. Our prayers are with the officer’s family, the Pine Bluff Police Department and the law enforcement community.
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) October 5, 2020
The Arkansas State Police is leading the investigation into the homicide, and has requested assistance from the FBI. The department said it will submit a file to the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney for the consideration of criminal charges.
“The hearts and strength of the Arkansas State Police is with Pine Bluff PD this afternoon, after two of their officers were shot in the line of duty earlier today,” the department announced late Monday. “Our prayers are with the family and friends of the fallen officer, while we keep the entire department in our thoughts.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also sent condolences in a statement late Monday.
“Officers Kevin Collins and Ralph Isaac dedicated themselves to defending the rule of law and the safety of their fellow citizens, and for that Arkansans will be forever grateful,” he said. “As we mourn the loss of Officer Collins and pray for Officer Isaac’s recovery, may God bring comfort to their families and to the brave policemen and women of the Pine Bluff Police Department.”
As we mourn the loss of Officer Collins and pray for Officer Isaac’s recovery, may God bring comfort to their families and to the brave men and women of the Pine Bluff Police Department. https://t.co/mks8zQ7OaP
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) October 5, 2020
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in a statement sent condolences to Officer Collins’s family and said that Collins had “paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting his community and patrolling the streets of Pine Bluff.”
“He will be remembered as a true public servant who put on the badge every day making a commitment to protect and serve the people of Pine Bluff,” she said.
Officer Kevin Collins paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting his community & patrolling the streets of Pine Bluff. He will be remembered as a true public servant to the people of Pine Bluff. I also pray for the other officers involved in this tragic incident. @PBPoliceDept pic.twitter.com/O844fiipgn
— Leslie Rutledge (@AGRutledge) October 5, 2020
“Officer Collins was highly respected among his brothers and sister in blue and was honored as Pine Bluff Police Department’s Officer of the Year in 2018.
“I want his family and fellow law enforcement officers to know my thoughts and prayers are with them during this incredibly difficult time. The entire State of Arkansas is forever indebted to Officer Collins for his unwavering service. I also pray for the other officers involved in this tragic incident.”