HS man arrested after disturbance involving gun at newspaper office

Hot Springs police units converge on Opera Street just south of the Spring Street intersection on Tuesday following a disturbance at The Sentinel-Record office. - Photo by John Williams of The Sentinel-Record
Hot Springs police units converge on Opera Street just south of the Spring Street intersection on Tuesday following a disturbance at The Sentinel-Record office. - Photo by John Williams of The Sentinel-Record

A Hot Springs man was arrested Tuesday morning after allegedly threatening the general manager of The Sentinel-Record while armed with a handgun and later fighting with a Hot Springs police officer trying to take him into custody.

Xavier Latrez Stone, 24, who lists a Mountain Quarry Road address, was taken into custody outside the newspaper office at 300 Spring St. and charged with felony counts of second-degree battery and aggravated assault, each punishable by up to six years in prison, and misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, carrying a weapon (firearm), criminal trespass and public intoxication.

Stone, who lists no prior felony history, was being held on an $8,500 bond and was set to appear Wednesday in Garland County District Court. According to court records, he had previously pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia on Oct. 22, 2019, and Jan. 9, 2020, and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation each time.

According to the probable cause affidavit, shortly before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, newspaper employees called police reporting a Black male, later identified as Stone, was inside their office "acting disorderly."

Sgt. Joey Williams was the first to arrive and located Stone "waving his hands and yelling." After being asked to leave, Stone reportedly became "increasingly upset," yelling and screaming before sitting on the sidewalk. Employees then told Williams Stone had a firearm.

Williams moved behind Stone to detain him and Stone allegedly "jumped up and pulled his pants down." Williams was able to handcuff Stone's right hand and ordered him to place his left hand behind his back, but instead Stone reportedly rolled onto his back.

Stone began using his legs and hands fighting with Williams and then allegedly "grabbed and pulled" on Williams' firearm several times while they were on the ground. Williams warned Stone he was going to deploy his Taser, but Stone reportedly continued to resist.

Williams then deployed his Taser, striking Stone on the back of his right side. Williams asked Stone where his firearm was and Stone reportedly told him he had put it in his vehicle. At that point, two passersby and a National Park Service ranger responded and helped to place Stone into custody.

The affidavit notes Williams suffered injuries to his right hand, including an abrasion near his thumb that was bleeding, swelling and redness to his right elbow and red swelling to both of his knees which had cuts and abrasions.

Williams noted he could smell the odor of intoxicating beverages on Stone's breath and that he had watery, bloodshot eyes.

Harry Porter, general manager of The Sentinel-Record, told police just prior to their response that Stone, who he did not know, had entered the business and was standing near the front entrance "acting unusual" while speaking to the female reception employee.

Due to his unusual behavior, Potter spoke to him and asked him to leave the premises. Stone reportedly refused, "speaking in an aggressive manner," and began pushing his face and body against Potter. Stone was reportedly standing so close to Potter that "Stone's lips touched Potter's face" at one point.

Potter said he pushed Stone away from him and then Stone allegedly removed a handgun from his waistband, holding it down at his side, and stated, "We can go right now."

The receptionist and several other employees witnessed the incident and described Stone as "hostile" and "possibly under the influence."

Stone's vehicle, a beige 2003 Honda Accord, was located across the street from the newspaper office in the parking lot attached to the Federal Building, 100 Reserve St.

A search warrant was obtained for the vehicle and executed and detectives allegedly located a gray semi-automatic 9-mm pistol in the front passenger floorboard that was loaded with a magazine with eight rounds of hollow point ammunition and had one round in the chamber.

They also found a half-filled 750-milliliter bottle of Irish whiskey next to the gun.

It was noted that due to Stone resisting arrest, his refusal to cooperate, and unusual behavior, they transported him directly to the detention center where he was "not interviewed due to safety considerations."

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