LITTLE ROCK—A Paragould man who admitted to shooting at police officers was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison Friday by United States District Judge Lee P. Rudofsky, the maximum sentenced allowed by law.
On Feb. 7, 2021, Paragould police officers observed Taj Harris, 23, walking near the area of Walnut Street and Second Street in Paragould. Officers knew Harris had an active warrant for his arrest. As an officer attempted to take Harris into custody, Harris pulled out a firearm and began shooting at the officer, forcing the officer to dive to the ground to avoid being shot. A second Paragould officer saw Harris shoot at the first officer and saw that officer dive to the ground. Believing the first officer had been hit, the second officer fired multiple shots at Harris, who then returned fire at the second officer.
Officers then pursued Harris on foot, who fled the scene. A civilian trapped Harris between a house and a fence by threatening him with a golf club and flagged down officers to make the arrest. Officers then located a stolen firearm with a large capacity magazine next to Harris’s feet. Harris is a convicted felon. The next day, in a phone conversation with his mother from the Greene County Jail, Harris admitted to his mother that he shot at police officers, and that he intended on shooting them if they tried to put their hands on him.
On July 6, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Harris for being a felon in possession of a firearm, a charge that carries a maximum of 120 months’ imprisonment. Harris pleaded guilty to the charge on November 15, 2022. In addition to the 10 years in prison Harris must serve, he was sentenced to three years of supervised release to follow. There is no parole in the federal system.