ROGERS, Ark. – Two Arkansas men face charges after allegedly shooting each other during a night of drinking while each man tried on a bulletproof vest, according to the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
Charles Eugene Ferris, 50, and Christopher Hicks, 36, were both arrested Sunday on charges of felony aggravated assault.
A Benton County sheriff’s deputy took the initial report from Ferris at the hospital, where authorities say Ferris invented a story to cover for Hicks.
Ferris said he was hired to protect an “asset,” who paid him $200 to follow him into the woods at Hobbs State Park, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Ferris said the pair went out into the woods and met another man around 10 p.m. The man approached Ferris’ “asset” when a gunfight broke out. Ferris said he was struck six times, but also managed to return fire before driving off with the “asset,” according to the affidavit.
Ferris said the “asset” dropped him off at his vehicle before he dumped his weapons and drove himself to Mercy Hospital.
However, Ferris’ wife arrived at the hospital a short time later, telling investigators that her husband and Hicks shot each other while drinking on the back porch of their home on Deer Run Lane in Rogers.
Ferris later recanted his initial story to deputies, saying he made it up to keep Hicks from getting in trouble, according to the affidavit.
Ferris said he had been wearing the vest when he asked Hicks to shoot him with a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle. The vest stopped the bullet, but still hurt and left a mark on his chest.
Ferris became “pissed” because he was hurting from the shot and “unloaded the clip into Christopher’s back” after Hicks put the vest on, according to the affidavit.
Hicks only suffered bruising from the gunshots.
Ferris initially told his wife “he was fine” after the shooting, but complained about the pain, so she told him to go to the hospital, according to the affidavit.
Hicks and Ferris are free on $5,000 bonds. A judge issued a no-contact order between the men.
Both men have hearings set for May 3 in Benton County Circuit Court.
In Arkansas, Class D felonies are punishable by up to six years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.