Officer from Houston mourned after Arkansas ambush killing

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (KTRK) -- Officer Stephen Carr didn't carry a Houston police badge, but after he was killed, HPD leaders feel like they lost a member of the family.

Over the weekend, Fayetteville Police said Officer Carr was sitting in the department's parking lot, when a suspect ambushed him and opened fire. He was killed.

The suspect, London Phillips, was shot and killed by police. Officers still haven't provided a motive.

On Monday, the department announced visitation would take place Wednesday, and Officer Carr's funeral will be held Thursday on University of Arkansas' campus.

Carr was an officer in Arkansas, but he had Houston ties. His stepfather is a part of HPD.

His parents used to work with the department. His father, a retired sergeant, spoke to Houston Police Union President Joe Gamaldi.

"Obviously, he's heartbroken," Gamaldi said. "You have a son who followed in his dad and his mom's footsteps to become a police officer, and then he's brutally murdered at the police station in Arkansas."

Before following in his family's footsteps, Officer Carr was a star football player at The Woodlands High School. The district sent ABC13 a statement from his coach, Mark Schmid,

"As the Head Football Coach of the Woodlands High School, I had the privilege of knowing Stephen Carr as a student and as a member of my team. He was a three year letterman that played on the offensive line at TWHS and went on to play college football at Southwestern Baptist University. Stephen was not just a good football player, he was an outstanding young man, a great teammate, and friend. He was well liked by his peers and respected by the coaches that worked with him. He was the type of young man that all coaches want on their team. Stephen was extremely proud of the fact that his father was a police officer and shared his desire to follow in his footsteps one day. Our football family is extremely saddened with the tragedy of his death. To lose such a fine young man who chose to serve others, protect his fellow man, as well as provide a sense of order and security to his community, is heartbreaking. Our prayers are with his family as they deal with this devastating loss."

Carr went to Southwest Baptist University. He graduated in 2015 with a degree in economics/finance.

"Stephen was a sharp student and very engaged in his academic experience," Dr. Troy Bethards, dean of the Robert W. Plaster College of Business and Computer Science. "He took his academics as seriously as his time in football. Whatever he pursued, he was dedicated and did to the best of his ability. We are praying for his family as they grieve Stephen's passing."

Carr played football for two seasons in college, but an injury ended his career. He spent the final two years as a student-coach.

"Stephen came in as a highly recruited offensive lineman not just because of his ability, but because of his integrity and character," SBU Head Football Coach Robert Clardy said. "He faced adversity with injuries in his first couple of years which sidelined him as a player and led him to coach. He was a wonderful young man who worked hard to impact others on our campus and in our community."

Instead of moving back to Houston, he took a job with Sam's Club in Arkansas. Soon after, he joined Fayetteville Police, instead of HPD.

Close friend David Layman said Carr was a proud Texan, but fell in love with Arkansas.

"I think he wanted to make his mark somewhere else," Layman recalled. "I know Stephen well enough that he probably didn't want to deal with, 'Oh, that's Carr's son.' He wanted to make his own name."

Carr worked with Fayetteville Police for more than two years. A GoFundMe was established to support a memorial fund.

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