The wife of a jail administrator has been arrested after allegedly holding four African-American teenagers at gunpoint in Wynne, Arkansas.
Jerri Kelly, 46, reportedly pulled a gun on the high school students while they were selling discount cards for a school fundraiser at 10am on August 7.
Five days later, Kelly was arrested on four counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a minor.
As reported by WMC5 Action News, Superintendent Carl Easley of Wynne Police stated the parents of the teenagers involved have now been notified of the incident.
In a media statement, Wynne Police Chief Jackie Clark said officers had responded to a report of ‘suspicious persons’ at the address on the day of the incident.
When they arrived, officers said they discovered four teenagers lying on the ground with Kelly standing over them holding a gun. When officers allowed them to stand, they explained they had been selling cards for their school football program.
Kelly’s neighbours have been left understandably concerned by this incident, with local man Bill Winkler – who has lived in Kelly’s neighbourhood for four decades – saying the incident had ‘worried’ he and other residents.
Winkler made the following remarks to WMC5 Action News:
They’re just kids, you worry about your neighbourhood, and you wonder who is this person.
The neighbour continued, saying the sight of children selling discount cards in the neighbourhood was not an uncommon one.
Wynne Police Chief Clark made the following statement:
As we focus on our children, no bond will ever be set too high to protect our children, but in the real world bonds are only set to guarantee appearances in court,
Sometimes as police officers or citizens we don’t always agree with bonds being set too high or low, but our goal is always to ensure justice is served in the end.
Kelly, who is married to Cross County Jail Administrator Joe Kelly (one of Cross County Sheriff David West’s employees) didn’t have a mugshot taken following her arrest – reportedly because she had a ‘medical issue’ while being booked.
Sheriff West claimed Kelly didn’t receive any special treatment following her arrest, telling WMC5 Action News:
I’m professional. My department is professional. There was no special treatment. She went through the steps just like any other person would.
The woman who held 4 black male students at gunpoint for door to door fundraising in Wynne, Arkansas finally took her mugshot today. Jerri Kelly thought she was above the law and now she's viral for all the wrong reasons. pic.twitter.com/JkZuXzUtGP
— Big Bro Luh Ya ❤ (@OsyrusBolly) August 15, 2019
Kelly will reportedly make her first appearance before a judge on the morning of Thursday, August 22.
A circuit judge has set Kelly’s bond at $10,000.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.