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Man shot, arrested at Zapata's facing six felony charges

by Lynn LaRowe | December 10, 2021 at 10:00 p.m.
Jayden Sledge

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- A man shot by an off-duty police detective inside a downtown Texarkana restaurant in October has been formally charged with six felonies by prosecutors in Miller County.

Jayden Jemar Sledge, 20, suffered a nonlife-threatening injury to his right arm the evening of Oct. 13 after being shot by Texarkana Arkansas Police Department Detective Wayne Easley in a storage area of Zapata's Grill and Mexican Cantina.

Easley was celebrating the birthday of a family member inside Hopkins Icehouse across the street from Zapata's when a civilian informed him that a man was breaking into a car in a nearby parking lot, according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Arkansas State Police.

Sledge was allegedly observed breaking into a white Yukon in a parking lot south of Hopkins at around 7:15 p.m. He allegedly pointed a 9 mm handgun and threatened to kill the husband of the Yukon's owner when confronted inside the SUV.

Easley and his son, a TAPD patrol officer, gave chase as Sledge ran into Zapata's across East Third Street from Hopkins. When approached, Sledge allegedly pulled a firearm and pointed it at Easley -- who was unarmed -- inside Zapata's. When Easley backed away, Sledge allegedly ran to the back storage area of the restaurant. Easley borrowed a 9 mm handgun from a Zapata's patron and proceeded to the back of the restaurant.

"Sledge was attempting to climb up a ladder and was approached again," the affidavit states.

Sledge allegedly pointed his gun at Easley a second time, prompting him to shoot Sledge in the arm with the patron's pistol. Sledge allegedly fell from the ladder and was taken into custody by the off-duty officers.

Arkansas State Police assumed the investigation at the request of Texarkana Arkansas Police Department. While conducting a crime scene search of the storage area where Sledge was shot, agents allegedly found a set of keys to a Kia Sorento that had been reported stolen earlier in the day from a parking lot outside Central Mall in Texarkana, Texas.

"On Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, Sledge was fired from Zapata's. Sledge told another employee that he was coming back to shoot the place up," the affidavit states.

Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Black issued a letter in late October finding the shooting justified under Arkansas law. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Cotten filed an information this week formally charging Sledge with theft by receiving, breaking or entering, terroristic threatening and three counts of aggravated assault.

If convicted of theft by receiving, Sledge faces three to 10 years in prison. Each of the five other charges is punishable by up to six years in prison. All six of the felonies pending against Sledge also include the possibility of a fine up to $10,000.

Sledge is being held in the Miller County jail with bail set at $250,000.

Print Headline: Man shot, arrested at Zapata's facing six felony charges

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