FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Friends are remembering fallen officer Stephen Carr after he was shot and killed while sitting in his patrol vehicle.
Carr was 27-years-old and had been with the Fayetteville Police Department for two and a half years.
David Layman lived with Carr for four years during college at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri. He says Officer Carr came from a law enforcement family and always knew he wanted to be a police officer.
He says Carr was more than a friend, he was family.
“He loved the county, he loved the state, he loved this state, he loved this community and that’s the best way to say it. He was an all American boy,” Layman said.
On Saturday (Dec. 7) when tragedy struck, Layman says he gave his friend a call to make sure he was okay. When there was no response, reality sunk in.
“I actually text Steve first and then I thought 'well I bet he’s pretty busy so he’s not gonna reply' so I text his dad and asked if he had heard from him, and when I didn’t hear anything back I pretty much knew it was probably him,” Layman said.
Layman says it always worried him when his friend was on the job, but it's something Carr loved to do.
“You hear about this all the time, every time I hear about one I get worried but unfortunately this time it was him,” Layman said. “I remember when he called me and told me that’s what he was going to do. I told him it scares the hell out of me but if that’s where your heart is and that’s where your passion is then you got to do it. I told him I was proud of him with the decision he made.”
A memorial with dozens of flowers and handwritten notes is set up for Officer Carr across the street from the Fayetteville Police Department.
Layman says the outpouring of support from the community is not surprising.
“He loved to help people, he just loved people," he said. "I think this is how he felt could make a difference and I think it shows that he did with the outpour of love and support and compassion. I think it shows how much of an impact he had in just two and half years of doing this. It’s pretty amazing.”
Layman says his friend is in a better place and will always be a hero.
“He wouldn’t want us to wallow and cry and be sad," Layman said. "He would want us to stand tall and be proud and continue to live our lives. He didn’t do this for the recognition, he didn’t do this for the honor and the glory. He did it because he loved it and he loved taking care of people and helping people and he loved Fayetteville and he loved protecting Fayetteville. Just continue to be strong and move forward.”
Carr's high school friend Riley Donovan describes Carr as a fun-loving man who cared for so many.
“We referred to him as a gentle giant," Donovan said. "That’s pretty good to explain him. If you didn’t know him you might be scared of him walking by because he’s a big ole dude but he was always nice whether he knew you or not.”
Donovan's wedding was the last time the two saw each other, something he says he will always remember.
“I was able to see him then," Donovan said. "He was able to come down and we had been in contact over the last couple of months about trying to catch up and this terrible thing just has to happen.”
A candlelight vigil for Officer Carr will be held outside of the Walton Arts Center on Tuesday, December 10 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Dickson Street will be closed between West Avenue and School Street during the vigil.
The FPD is asking residents to turn the city blue in honor of Carr by utilizing blue lights at their homes and businesses. You can also use the hashtag #LightTheCityBlue413 on social media.
A GoFundMe has been set up by the Fayetteville Fraternal Order of Police to support Carr’s family.
A visitation for Officer Carr will be held on December 11, at the University Baptist Church at 333 W, Maple St. in Fayetteville from 3-7 p.m.
The funeral service will be held on December 12 at Bud Walton Arena at 1270 Leroy Pond Dr. in Fayetteville at 1 p.m.
Both services are open to the public. Information about parking will soon be released.
Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered that U.S. and Arkansas flags be flown at half-staff in tribute to Officer Carr.