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4 people die in single day as 2 shootings rattle Little Rock neighborhood

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Four people died Friday in two shootings in a Little Rock neighborhood called Hope, police spokesmen said Saturday.

Three people — all 20 years old or younger — were found about 10:45 p.m. Friday suffering from gunshot wounds in a wrecked vehicle near the 4400 block of West 14th Street, interim Police Chief Alice Fulk said Saturday during a news conference.

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Two women in the car were transported to a local hospital, where they died. A man who was also in the vehicle died at the scene. A fourth person, a 17-year-old boy, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in a nearby yard.

Saturday’s news conference was held on Fulk’s first day as interim chief, a position she will hold for 30 days while the city searches for a new leader for the Police Department.

Friday’s four homicides raise the city’s total to 34 for the year, still down from a year-end total of 55 in 2017.

The triple homicide is the city’s first since July 11, 2017, when a woman and her two children were gunned down in their home.

[INTERACTIVE MAP: Search all killings in Little Rock, North Little Rock this year]

Fulk identified Kennelle Anderson, LaTija Luckey and Carrington Williams as the three people killed Friday night. Williams and Luckey were Little Rock residents. Anderson lived in Hot Springs, she said.

The injured teen had multiple gunshot wounds in his legs and was listed in critical condition in a local hospital Saturday, police Lt. Michael Ford said. Fulk said investigators believe the 17-year-old was in the car with the other victims at one point.

About 20 hours earlier and less than a mile away, officers were called to 3109 W. 17th St. in response to a shooting. They found 44-year-old Corey Jackson in the doorway of a blue house just after 3 a.m. Friday, Little Rock police spokesman Eric Barnes said in the statement.

The 911 caller told dispatchers that Jackson was on the ground yelling for help, but he was dead by the time officers arrived, Barnes said.

Ford said investigators did not have any information Saturday afternoon regarding suspects in either shooting. Fulk said investigators have no reason to believe the shootings are related.

The Little Rock Police Department released no information about the West 17th Street shooting for more than 24 hours after Jackson died. Ford said information about that homicide was not immediately released to the public because officers were still investigating and attempting to contact Jackson’s family members.

When Earnest Franklin, a community activist and minister with Arkansas Stop the Violence, arrived at the scene of the triple homicide about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, there were deep tire tracks in the dirt where the car crashed.

A neck brace, multiple gauze pads and 11 thick plastic gloves littered the ground where first responders had aided the shooting victims. In the ditch, what appeared to be engine oil had leaked into a puddle of water. Alongside it were a plastic covering of a side-view mirror, some shattered glass and a broken taillight.

Franklin erected three white crosses at the crash scene. Another cross — plastered with Stop the Violence stickers and bright, plastic flowers tacked to the front — was in his car, and he planned to put it up near the West 17th Street homicide scene.

Franklin said he’s rarely put up so many crosses at one time.

“This is the most we’ve had,” Franklin said. “We have to clean up our neighborhoods, and how do we do that? I don’t know. I’m a 50-year veteran of this fight, and I don’t know.”

About 1:30 p.m. Saturday, several officers from the Police Department and the Little Rock Fire Department were back at the scene cleaning up the litter.

Fulk said at the 3:30 p.m. news conference that the trash left behind at the crash scene was unacceptable and was “being dealt with.” She did not elaborate.

The car crashed just behind the home of Betty Pearson, who has lived near West 14th Street for more than 45 years. Pearson said she was asleep when the shooting started, and the multiple gunshots woke her.

She said that while several of the surrounding neighborhoods sometimes see violence, her street has rarely seen so many blue lights. Her neighborhood consists of mostly older people who have lived there for several years, even decades, she said.

“It took them a long time to get the last body out,” Pearson said Saturday. She had been watching from a window, afraid to leave her home. “The car was in the ditch. They were out here for hours.”

Just up the street, Robert Hollman said he was watching television when he heard more than 20 shots ring out. Hollman said he immediately got down on the floor, unsure of what was going on.

Hollman described three distinct gunshot sounds, saying he believes there were at least three different kinds of weapons involved. Ford said he could not confirm that multiple weapons were used.

Hollman said he had been at a nearby liquor store, Pic Pac Liquor, about 9 p.m. Friday and saw a car similar to the one in which the three people were later found shot. The liquor store is on West 12th Street, less than a mile from where the triple homicide occurred.

Hollman said two groups of people near the store were “throwing gang signs” and that there appeared to be tension between them. He said he left quickly, and the shooting started shortly after he got home.

Fulk said it was still too early in the investigation to say whether the shooting was gang-related.

Hollman, who was busy putting up Christmas decorations Saturday afternoon, described the shooting as three children sitting on his porch peppered him with questions.

“He was my age?” one little boy asked.

“No, man,” Hollman replied. “He was older than you. Not much.”

A few blocks away, Ramona Smith said she did not really know the man who was shot and killed early Friday a dozen yards from her doorstep. Jackson died in the doorway of the house next door to Smith’s home.

Smith said she’s lived in the neighborhood for about 10 years. In the past five years, crime there has become more and more common.

“This house was a ‘beautify the neighborhood’ house [in 2008],” she said. “It’s nothing to hear gunshots now. You hear them all the time. I tell the kids, ‘Get down on the floor,’ and wait for it to end.”

Photo by Thomas Metthe
At a news conference Saturday, interim Little Rock Police Chief Alice Fulk identifies the three people shot and killed late Friday.

Metro on 11/18/2018

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