Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 30 years
Badge # 6
Weapon: Handgun; 9 mm
Offender: Committed suicide
Officer Jim Sell was shot and killed during a traffic stop.
Officer Sell had stopped a vehicle driven by a violent assault suspect that police had been searching for. The assault occurred at a New Bedford, Massachusetts bar during the evening of February 1st. In that incident, the suspect struck two patrons with a small hatchet and then shot and wounded both men and a third man before escaping. The hatchet was found outside the bar, but the firearm has not been located.
The suspect, who eluded a nationwide manhunt for 1,400 miles and two days, was pulled over for a traffic violation in the parking lot of a motel by Officer Sell at approximately 1430 hours. The suspect immediately opened fire, striking Officer Sell once in the arm and twice in the head, killing him. The suspect then drove around the hotel and returned to Officer Sell to retrieve his driver's license.
As the suspect sped off, a motel worker called 911 to report the shooting. The worker gave police a detailed description of the suspect's vehicle. A Baxter County sheriff's deputy located the suspect's car on Arkansas State Highway 201 and a high-speed pursuit followed.
Officers deployed spike strips in an attempt to stop the vehicle. When the car struck the strips a short time later, the suspect lost control and crashed into a parked car, coming to a rest facing pursuing officers. The suspect then shot and killed his female passenger.
Still seated, the suspect next opened fire on police through his window. Officers from the Arkansas State Police and the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office returned fire. The suspect was transported from the scene with a gunshot wound to the head. It was later determined that he committed suicide during the gun battle.
Officer Sell was a US Navy veteran. He had served with the Blytheville Police Department for 27 years before retiring as a captain in 2000. He served as a part-time officer with the Gassville Police Department for 3 years.