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Three dead, 11 injured in mass shooting at south Arkansas grocery

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Three dead, 11 injured in mass shooting at south Arkansas grocery

Jun 21, 2024 | 9:49 pm ET
By Sonny Albarado
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Three dead, 11 injured in mass shooting at south Arkansas grocery
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Travis "Joey" Posey, 44, was named as the suspect in a mass shooting in Fordyce, Arkansas, on Friday, June 21, 2024. (Screenshot from Ouachita County Sheriff's Office jail booking page)

A Friday morning shooting at a Fordyce, Arkansas, grocery store left three people dead and 11 wounded, including the suspect and two law enforcement officers, according to Arkansas State Police.

The suspect and the law enforcement officers are not considered to have life-threatening injuries, ASP Director Mike Hagar said at an afternoon press conference near the scene of the shooting.

The condition of the remaining victims range from non-life-threatening to “extremely critical,” Hagar said.

State Police later identified the suspected shooter as Travis Posey. A booking record on the Ouachita County Sheriff’s jail website shows Travis Posey, 44, as being held for another county. Posey is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, according to inmate search site VINELink, which was first reported by SouthArkansasReckoning, an online news site. ASP later confirmed that information in a press release.

South Arkansas Reckoning also noted a LinkedIn page lists Posey as the owner of Posey Tree Service in Kingsland in Cleveland County.

The shooting occurred about 11:30 a.m. at the Mad Butcher, part of a regional grocery chain, located at 920 W. 4th Street in a small shopping center. Fordyce (population 3,238 in 2022) is about an hour’s drive south of Little Rock in Dallas County.

Hagar did not release the identities of any of the dead or wounded nor of the shooter at the his 4 p.m. press conference, but said there was no continued threat to the community.

“It’s tragic, our hearts are broken,” he said.

KARK 4 News reporter Caitrin Assaf said she spoke to the parents of one of the victims who died. They told her their 23-year-old daughter, a nurse, was off work on Friday and likely was shopping when she was shot.

A video posted on Facebook by Casey D. Rodriguez from the vantage of a nearby gas station convenience store shows a person lying on the ground behind a vehicle; 11 shots can be heard along with sirens. Other online video and photos show storefront windows with dozens of bullet holes.

Another video shot from inside a store on X posted by user @LRHNcash shows a man with a long gun shooting methodically in different directions.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette interviewed Ronald Clayton, who said he and his wife were pulling into the Mad Butcher parking lot when something hit the windshield of his Nissan Sentra. He thought at first that it was a rock, then realized it as bullets, he told the newspaper. A photo accompanying the report show a car with about a dozen bullet holes in the right front fender and door.

In a post on X early Friday afternoon, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was thankful for the “heroic actions” of law enforcement and other first responders and said her prayers were with the victims.

Data on the Gun Violence Archive shows Friday’s mass shooting was the second this month in Arkansas and the sixth this year. A mass shooting, per the site, is one with a minimum of four victims, either wounded or killed, and excluding the shooter or shooters.

Anna Morshedi of Greater Little Rock Moms Demand Action and Insherah Qazi, a member of the Students Demand Action National Organizing Board from Arkansas, both issued statements about the shooting Friday afternoon, calling for action to stem the rash of gun violence in the United States.

“Our hearts are with those who were wounded and their families after today’s shooting — where yet another trip to the grocery store ended in tragedy because of America’s gun violence crisis,” Morshedi said. “We’re fed up with having to live in fear every day because our lawmakers refuse to put our safety first.”

“It’s heartbreaking to see such senseless violence continue to cycle throughout our communities. But this is what happens when our state lacks basic gun safety laws,” Qazi said. “Arkansas has the weakest gun laws in the country and our gun violence rates show for it. Going to the grocery store shouldn’t be a death sentence. The answer to solving this crisis is clear, it’s just a matter of whether lawmakers have the courage to act.”

The Arkansas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action are part of Everytown for Gun Safety.

Arkansas has the weakest gun laws of any state in the country, ranking 50th in the Everytown Gun Law Rankings.

Lawmakers in 2021 repealed an Arkansas law requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public and in 2023 amended the law to clarify that concealed carry licensing is solely to allow reciprocity for licensees who travel to other states that require a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Act 777 also specifies that a person is not required to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun in Arkansas.

According to Everytown, Arkansas has the 9th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. In an average year, 638 people die by guns and another 1,247 people are wounded in Arkansas.

This story was updated at 12:33 a.m. June 22 to attribute the original source of some of the information, later verified by the Arkansas Advocate.