Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Arkansas Democratic chairman shot

LATEST (3 a.m.): Information about gunman Timothy Johnson continues to be scarce and sketchy, but KARK reports: "We heard from multiple sources that Johnson was employed at the Gwatney-family owned Chevrolet dealership in Jacksonville." The station also reports:
Johnson was fired from his job in Conway before the shooting Wednesday.
Conway police were called to the Target just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, because of some anti-target graffiti he had written on the wall. Employees there say he was irate, but he left the scene before officers arrived.
So he got fired from Target, but several sources say that he used to work for the Gwatney family's auto dealership.

LATEST (8 p.m.): The gunman's death was apparently not self-inflicted, as had been speculated earlier:
After the suspect avoided spike strips and a roadblock along U.S. 167 near Sheridan, police rammed his car, spinning it, said Grant County Sheriff Lance Huey. He got out of his truck and began shooting, and state police and sheriff's deputies fired back, striking him several times, he said.
Hastings said investigators found at least two handguns in the suspect's truck.
The police spokesman seems to discount the disgrunted ex-employee angle:

At a late afternoon news conference, Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings said Gwatney was shot multiple times in his upper body. Hastings said there is no known connection between Gwatney and the gunman and police have not commented on a possible motive.

ID on the suspect:
He has now been identified as Timothy Dale Johnson, 50, of Searcy. A sister who lives in Sheridan identified him, police said.
Johnson had no prior police record, according to the Little Rock police and a motive was still unknown. "This is one of those where we may never know," said Police Lt. Terry Hastings.
UPDATED & BUMPED (AGAIN): Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney has died after being shot by a man who was apparently a disgruntled former employee of Gwatney's auto dealership. The gunman was 51 and died of a gunshot wound, which may have been self-inflicted.

UPDATE II: When in doubt, blame Michelle Malkin.

UPDATE III: Bitterly clinging to guns and religion:
Moments before the Democratic headquarters shooting, a man with a gun threatened the building manager of the Arkansas State Baptist Convention headquarters seven blocks east. It wasn't known if the incidents were related.
Dan Jordan, the denomination's business manager, said the building manager asked the man what was wrong and that he said "I lost my job."
UPDATE IV: The party chairman was shot three times; details of the police pursuit of the gunman:
According to police, officers chased the gunman down Interstate 530 toward Pine Bluff, until he was forced off at the Sheridan exit. They caught up with him in Sheridan and a gun battle ensued in which the gunman was captured after he was shot by police. He was taken by MedFlight air ambulance to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock. Lt. Terry Hastings of the Little Rock police reported on Wednesday afternoon that the gunman had died.

UPDATE V: Disgruntled former employee of the party chairman's auto dealership?

Sources say they are working to confirm tentative information that the suspect was a former employee of a Gwatney car dealership. News reports are identifying him as Tim Johnson, 50, of Searcy. He reportedly was a body shop worker at a Gwatney dealership in Sherwood.

Allah suggests this might be another "garden variety wacko," rather than politically-motivated terrorism.

Very disturbing news:
A gunman entered the Arkansas Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday and shot the party chairman, who was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said. The gunman asked to speak to the party chairman, Bill Gwatney, and fired three shots at the office near the state Capitol. . . .
The suspect was chased into Grant County, south of Little Rock, and apprehended after being shot, the police spokesman said. The suspect's condition and motive were not known.
Sarah Lee, a sales clerk at a flower shop across street from the party headquarters, said that around noon Gwatney's secretary ran into the shop and asked someone to call 911.
Lee said the secretary told her the man had come into the party's office and asked to speak with Gwatney.
When the secretary said she wouldn't allow him to meet with Gwatney, the man went into his office and shot him, Lee said.
She said the secretary described the man as in his 40s and white and drove off in a blue truck.
Will update as further details become available.

No comments:

Post a Comment