A 36-year-old Searcy man accused of pointing a loaded firearm twice at a Searcy police officer in October and trying to shoot him is expected to begin facing an attempted murder charge in White County Circuit Court on Tuesday, according to 17th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Becky McCoy.
A warrant was issued at the request of the prosecutor Dec. 17 for Nicholas J. Conway on charges of criminal attempt to commit capital murder, a class Y felony; simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, a class Y felony; possession of firearms by certain persons, a class B felony; possession of a defaced firearm, a class D felony; and possession of less than 2 grams of a schedule II controlled substance, namely methamphetamine, a class D felony.
According to the affidavit written by Sgt. Josh Heckel of the Arkansas State Police, Officer Francis Ballek had responded Oct. 17 to the Peaks Apartments on Rich Smith Lane because of a residential burglary in progress.
After not finding anyone there, Ballek was checking the area and reportedly saw Conway walking nearby on East Park Avenue. He asked for identification and ran a check that showed Conway to be “a felon on probation with an active search waiver on file,” Heckel wrote.
Ballek reportedly asked Conway to put his hands on the patrol vehicle so that he could be patted down, but Conway pulled out a firearm and pointed it at the officer.
“Officer Ballek retreated and attempted to deescalate the situation,” Heckel wrote. “Conway raised the firearm again and pointed it at Officer Ballek.
“Officer Ballek discharged his firearm multiple times at Conway.”
Conway reportedly ran, but was caught after about 200 yards and arrested “without incident.” The gun, a .40-caliber silver and black Smith and Wesson, was at his feet, with a live round “jammed in the chamber” and eight more live rounds on the ground near the firearm.
According to the affidavit, he also had suspected methamphetamine and a smoking pipe on him.
When Conway was interviewed, he reportedly stated that “he pointed his firearm at the officer and shot at him.” Neither Ballek nor Conway were injured, according to the affidavit.
Conway, who remained in the White County Detention Center on Wednesday, was convicted in 2015 of felony aggravated assault on a family member and in 2018 of felony possession of a controlled substance, both in Lonoke County.