Man died trying to flee, police say

A man attempting to flee law enforcement officers died Saturday after he struck a Polk County sheriff’s deputy with his vehicle, which was then fired at by a Mena police officer, the Arkansas State Police said in a news release.

A Polk County deputy attempted to arrest 27-year-old Joseph Gonzalez of Cove at a restaurant at 1317 US 71 S. in Mena, the address for Papa’s Mexican Cafe, because he was “wanted for outstanding warrants out of Texas,” the state police said in the release on Monday. The release didn’t specify the nature of the warrants or time of day the encounter occurred.

Gonzalez tried to flee and hit the deputy with his vehicle, the state police said. A Mena police officer then shot twice into Gonzalez’s vehicle, the state police said.

Gonzalez lost control of the vehicle less than a mile away, the state police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The deputy was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released, the state police said.

The identities of the Mena police officer and Polk County deputy were not immediately released.

The sheriff’s office asked the state police’s criminal investigation division to investigate the shooting.

After the investigation, the Polk County prosecuting attorney will determine if the officer’s use of deadly force was consistent with state law, the state police said.

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