ALEXANDER, Ark. — An Arkansas police officer who told a colleague he would “shoot through the door” any protesters who came to his home has been charged with killing a fellow officer who knocked on his door last month, court records show.
Calvin Nicholas “Nick” Salyers, 33, of Alexander, is charged with manslaughter in the June 3 slaying of 36-year-old Scott Hutton, who was shot through Salyers’ front door.
Salyers turned himself in to state troopers Thursday, according to the Arkansas State Police. He was booked into the Saline County Jail with bail set at $15,000.
State police officials said last month that Saline County deputies were called around 7:12 p.m. June 3 to Salyers’ home, where they found the mortally wounded Hutton lying on the ground outside the residence. Hutton was taken to a hospital in Little Rock, where doctors pronounced him dead.
According to an arrest affidavit, Salyers had previously threatened to shoot protesters through his door. Salyers, who has been an Alexander police officer since 2017, made the statement in late May or early June, when protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers began to get violent.
Salyers is accused of making the comments to Alexander police training officer Sgt. Matt Wharton, according to Special Agent Ryan Jacks with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division. It is unclear why Salyers thought protesters might show up at his home.
“Sgt. Wharton told me that he instructed Officer Salyers that he could not do that because it was reckless and negligent,” Jacks wrote in the arrest affidavit. “Wharton stated that they could not shoot anyone without identifying them first and identify(ing) that there was a threat.”
The document accuses Salyers of acting recklessly when he shot Hutton.
Read the entire arrest affidavit below.
According to Jacks, Hutton had driven to Salyers’ address to pick up a patrol vehicle that was parked in a metal building next to Salyers’ home. At 7:09 p.m., he called Salyers’ cellphone, but Salyers didn’t answer.
Hutton then tried texting his colleague.
“Are you awake?” Hutton texted Salyers, according to the affidavit.
Hutton pulled into Salyers’ driveway, climbed up to the porch and knocked on the door. Salyers and his girlfriend, Ashlee Cummings, were inside, lying together on the couch and watching a movie, Jacks wrote.
“When they heard the knock, Salyers told Cummings that he would see who it was and grabbed his Glock .40-caliber handgun and went to the door,” the affidavit states.
Salyers told investigators he looked through the peephole and saw a figure standing on the porch. The person wore a dark shirt and had a gun on his hip, according to the document.
“Salyers stated that he transferred his weapon from his right hand into his left hand and reached for the door knob and, as he opened the door, the gun went off, firing a round through the front door,” Jacks wrote.
Salyers told investigators he realized who the figure was only after he saw Hutton fall off the porch.
Salyers and Cummings called 911 from Cummings’ cellphone.
“Salyers identified himself as an Alexander police officer and stated that they needed an ambulance, that an officer was down,” Jacks wrote. “The dispatcher asked Salyers who had been shot, and he advised her it was Officer Scott Hutton.
“On the 911 call, Salyers is heard to say, ‘All I seen was a gun. It was an accidental discharge.’”
State Police CID agents searched Salyers’ home, where they found a single bullet hole through the front door, near the peephole. The bullet went through the main door and through a glass storm door before striking Hutton.
Hutton was shot in the upper right chest, the bullet tearing through his heart before wedging under the skin on his left side, Jacks wrote.
The slain officer was wearing a black polo shirt, khaki tactical pants and a police gun belt. His badge was on the belt next to his holstered firearm, the affidavit states.
Evidence showed that Salyers had his Glock pressed against the door when he fired it.
“The most significant findings related to the bullet hole was there was evidence of close contact,” Jacks wrote, pointing to contact residue found on the surface. “Powder burns and a c-shape ring of residue were left around the hole.”
There was also an indentation in the door where the pistol light attached to the bottom of the Glock’s barrel marked the surface as the gun was fired.
Following Hutton’s killing, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in his honor.
According to Hutton’s obituary, he served two tours in the U.S. Army National Guard.
“After being medically retired, he had just achieved his dream of becoming a police officer,” the obituary read.
Hutton, who would have celebrated his birthday days after he was killed, left behind his wife of five years, Brittany Hutton, his parents and a brother.