Fugitive shot by Fort Smith police during arrest now facing attempted murder charge

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Officials with the Arkansas State Police said a man shot by Fort Smith police who were attempting to arrest him late last month now faces new charges including attempted murder.

State investigators said officers with the Fort Smith Police Department were trying to arrest 61-year-old Michael Lee Fairburn on Oct. 25 on a felony warrant.

The officers said Fairburn, who they described as a “violent sex offender” and fugitive out of the state of Indiana, pulled out a knife during the attempted arrest, at which point the officers said they shot Fairburn.

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Authorities said Fairburn was taken to UAMS for treatment following the shooting. He was later released from the hospital and taken into custody by the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office and brought back to Fort Smith.

He was booked into the county jail on multiple charges, including possession of drugs (methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia, simultaneous possession of drugs and weapon and habitual offender violations.

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On Tuesday, Fairburn was charged with two new counts, attempted capital murder and first-degree attempted batter of a law-enforcement officer. He continues to be held in the Sebastian County jail on a $515.000 bond and is next scheduled to be in court on Nov. 22

Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue determined last week that the officers involved in the shooting of Fairburn were justified in their use of deadly force.

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The ASP Criminal Investigation Division review of this case is ongoing, and FSPD officials said the officers involved were place on paid leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

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