Patrolman Basnett was shot and killed when he confronted a double-murder suspect. Patrolman Basnett was in the parking lot of a service station when the suspect pulled into the parking lot as well. He had recognized the suspect’s car from a bulletin provided to the police department earlier in the day. When Patrolman Basnett asked for identification the suspect reached inside of his vehicle, produced a .25 caliber handgun, and shot Patrolman Basnett in the chest. Patrolman Basnett returned fire at the fleeing suspect. Two shots struck the suspect and four shots struck the suspect’s car.
The shooting occurred across the street from an Arkansas State Police barracks. Several troopers who heard the shots pursued the suspect and assisted other Fort Smith officers in arresting the suspect a short distance away. The suspect was sentenced to death and executed on June 18, 1990.
Patrolman Basnett had been with the agency for over four years and was survived by his wife, stepdaughter, stepson, parents, sister and brother.