On May 20, 2010, Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans of the Crittenden County Sheriff's Department in West Memphis were killed in a shootout between Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son Joseph — both members of the sovereign citizens movement — during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40.
Two years later, funds are being raised to construct a memorial for the officers.
The site's design was chosen in a competition that included 60 students from the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture. Thirty groups of two students each — one in architecture and one in landscape architecture — came up with design proposals for the site.
Arkansas state Representative Keith Ingram was one of five judges who selected the winning design, titled "The Black Cube," by Tyler Jones and Brandon Bibby. Ingram said their design's "simplicity and symbolism" give it the potential to "become an iconic piece of art to honor our officers."
"[The memorial site will] represent the sacrifice of officers on our behalf," said Ingram, past president of the West Memphis Chamber of Commerce. "They are out there protecting us, and we sometimes take that for granted until a catastrophic event happens. Then we realize what they do every day and the stress they and their families live with in order to protect us."
The chosen design will feature two structures, each one representing one of the two fallen officers, that will each be 16 feet high and nearly 13 feet wide. There will be a marker in between the two structures that will have the names of other officers and firemen who have lost their lives on duty. A T-shaped concrete wall, pointing in the direction of the fatal shooting's site, will also be erected at the memorial site in West Memphis' Worthington Park.
Memphis architect John Harrison Jones has been commissioned to complete the memorial's structural design.
"I think it's a reverent remembrance of the officers who have given their lives for the safety of the community. People who knew them just want them to be remembered," Jones said.
Construction for the site won't begin until the $500,000 needed to build the memorial has been raised. A public fundraising campaign has brought in $50,000 so far. It should take around six months to construct the monument.
Memphis-based landscape design firm Ritchie Smith Associates has been chosen to handle the memorial's landscaping.
Lissa Thompson, the company's landscape architecture principal, said they'll spearhead tree planting and making the area accessible to pedestrians and people with disabilities.
Ingram, who knew both officers, said they were "highly trained and well respected." Both Evans' father and grandfather worked at Razorback Concrete, a company that Ingram runs along with his brother.
"When I heard that they were killed, I was devastated," Ingram said. "Both of those officers served our community with distinction. They were well-admired and loved."