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3 dead, 10 wounded in shooting at Mad Butcher grocery store in Arkansas

In World
June 22, 2024

A gunman opened fire at an Arkansas grocery store Friday, killing at least three and wounding several others, authorities said.

The deadly incident unfolded just before 11:40 a.m. CT at the Mad Butcher in Fordyce, a small town about 70 miles south of Little Rock, state police Director Mike Hagar said at a late-afternoon news conference.

Eleven people were wounded, including the three who died, the Arkansas State Police leader said. Two officers were also injured but had non-life-threatening injuries.

Some of the eight surviving civilians were in “extremely critical” condition, Hagar said.

The shooter, treated in custody for non-life-threatening injuries after exchanging gunfire with officers, was identified Friday night as Travis Eugene Posey, 44, of New Edinburg, a community about 11 miles east of Fordyce.

Bullet holes in the window of the store (Colin Murphey / Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

Bullet holes in the window of the store (Colin Murphey / Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

A A law enforcement officer stands at the entrance of the store (Colin Murphey / Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP )

A A law enforcement officer stands at the entrance of the store (Colin Murphey / Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP )

“It’s tragic,” the state police director said, “Our hearts are broken.”

Hagar, also the state’s secretary of public safety, said it was too early to determine what motivated the suspect. Arkansas State Police is leading the investigation, he added.

After his release from medical care, Posey was booked Friday evening at Ouachita County Detention Center based on an allegation of first-degree murder, according to inmate records.

State police said he was likely to face three counts of capital murder once charges are formally filed. It said further charges were also likely.

It wasn’t clear if he has retained counsel, and the public defender’s office for Dallas County, Arkansas, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meat cutter Matt Gill was in the back of the store when he heard gunfire and shattering glass.

“He came in and started shooting,” Gill said. “We made it out the back door. I had to get out there, I have a wife and kids at home.”

The shooting appeared to begin in the parking lot as sisters Amiya and Ashiya Doherty were in the back of the family SUV where they said they were nearly struck.

“He shot at my mother’s car and hit the tire and pssshshsh,” Amiya said, mimicking the sound of air escaping.

Car windows all around them were shot, but the sisters’ SUV had only tire damage. Amiya said she grabbed her sister Ashiya and pulled her down to avoid being hit.

“It was like a movie,” said Ashiya, who was also unharmed.

The violence stunned Roderick Rogers, a Fordyce native and pastor at Grace United Church.

“I saw people just lying in the parking lot,” he said. “There were shots going on everywhere.”

Video that was verified by NBC News but does not show what transpired beforehand showed a man in a parking lot firing a long gun, some rounds appeared to be directed at vehicles and the weapons was then lowered when he reloaded.

“Look at him,” a woman can be heard saying on the video that appears to have been shot from the far side of U.S. Highway 79, the road in front of the store.

“They done went into the Mad Butcher shooting … ” she said.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised authorities for their immediate reaction.

“I am thankful to law enforcement and first responders for their quick and heroic action to save lives,” she said in a statement.

Fordyce is a city with a population of 3,396 and a median household income of $35,116, that is less than half the nationwide median of $74,580, according to the U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Arkansas attack follows a mass shooting in Oakland, California on Wednesday, when 15 people were wounded during Juneteenth events near Lake Merritt, officials said.

Also on Wednesday, seven people were injured after a shooting in Philadelphia, officials said.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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