No charges will be filed in the shooting death of 107-year-old Monroe Isadore, who was killed when he exchanged gunfire with police on Sept. 7.
During a Friday morning press conference, Special Prosecutor Jason Barrett and Special Deputy Prosecutor Jack McQuary outlined the evidence they had collected, which included more than 18 hours of recorded interviews and an 800-page document to explain the decision.
Barrett and McQuary were assigned to investigate the incident after Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter recused himself.
Pine Bluff Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said Friday afternoon that he could not comment on the decision because a gag order issued by Circuit Judge Berlin Jones was still in effect. Jones’ order was issued Sept. 13, the same day Barrett and McQuary were appointed to investigate the case. The order prohibited all law enforcement officers and staff of law enforcement agencies from discussing the case.
Isadore was shot after police went into a bedroom at 1411 W. 16th Ave., following a standoff that lasted several hours.
Barrett said Isadore had been staying at the house while friends prepared a new place for him to live.
On the day of the shooting, Barrett said, Isadore “was ready to move but the move didn’t come quickly enough.”
According to the police report, Isadore went into his room and attempts to make contact with him through the door were unsuccessful.
At one point, a friend of Isadore, Laurie Barlow, opened the door to the bedroom and Barrett said Isadore pointed a .357 revolver at her.
“The owner of the house called police, and there were also small children in the house,” Barrett said.
“There was only one person that was acting inappropriately and that was Mr. Isadore when he fired five shots at police,” Barrett said. “Three officers arrived and tried to make contact with Mr. Isadore and at some point a single shot was fired through the door.”
Barrett said the initial officers backed up and requested assistance.
According to police, supervisors and the department’s SWAT team were called to the house, and attempts were made to talk Isadore out of the room. Police also inserted gas into the room, and used distraction devices before they went in.
“Mr. Isadore met the team with gunshots and those gunshots were returned,” Barrett said. “Because he was firing a weapon, no charges will be filed.”
Barrett said Isadore’s family was aware of the decision.
“Of course they’re upset about the tragic loss of their father who was a tremendous man and whom everyone spoke highly of,” Barrett said. “I think they would be happier if they had someone to blame but the only person who acted inappropriately was Monroe Isadore when he fired five shots at the police officers.”
Asked about Isadore’s possible mental state at the time, Barrett said he didn’t know “but there was evidence he was confused.”
That confusion included thinking he had already moved to his new house, he said.
Asked how many officers fired shots, Barrett said that when the police entry team went in, “each one had a job based on where they were and only one person was able to get into a position to fire shots.”
The officer who fired the shots has not been identified by the Pine Bluff Police Department because of the gag order and standard policy regarding internal investigations. The officer has been on administrative leave with pay since the incident.
Because of the gag order, Hubanks could not comment Friday on the officer’s status.
Documents released Friday by the special prosecutors identify the officer who fired the shots as Officer Brad Vilches.
Barrett said he was aware that there was concern in the community about the way the incident was handled but he said he expected the community to “react appropriately” because police “had no other choice that particular day.”
Both prosecutors also said police made several attempts to resolve the situation before they entered the bedroom, including trying to communicate with Isadore from the beginning of the incident to the end.
They also used gas and distraction devices to try and get him to come out, and those attempts were unsuccessful.
Although Barrett was designated special prosecutor and McQuary special deputy prosecutor, Barrett said the two worked together collecting the evidence, but each looked at it independently.
“There were two special prosecutors with a unified view,” Barrett said.
• Click here for the largest PDF, containing the majority of the case file documents, including interviews and other evidence collected. Blacked-out items were redacted by the special prosecutors (see the previous document for a list and reasons why, as required by the state FOI law), and additional pages were removed by The Commercial because they contained graphic images, personal information or the identity of minors.
• Audio of Radio Traffic (WAV)
• Audio of Detective Jason Howard's interview by the special prosecutors (WAV)
• Audio of Isadore's daughter Paula Aguilar's interview by the special prosectors (WAV)
Map of 2013 Jefferson County homicides
View Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Homicides 2013 in a larger map