4 killed, 9 wounded in mass shooting outside Arkansas grocery store (2024)

U.S.

By Cara Tabachnick

/ CBS News

Four people were killed and nine wounded in a mass shooting Friday outside of a grocery store in Fordyce, Arkansas, state police said. Two law enforcement officers were among those injured, but their conditions are not life-threatening, police said in an afternoon press conference.

Arkansas State Police responded to the Mad Butcher grocery store at 11:38 a.m. local time on Friday. Upon arrival, officers engaged in a shooting with the lone suspect, authorities said.

A video clip from the scene appears to show a man in the parking lot armed with a shotgun firing at officers, who were returning fire.

"This situation is secure and it's contained," Arkansas Department of Public Safety Director Mike Hagar said at Friday's briefing. "There are no active threats to the community."

State police initially reported three fatalities, but confirmed that a fourth victim died Saturday evening at a local hospital.

The four people killed were identified as Shirley Taylor, 62, Callie Weems, 23, Roy Sturgis, 50, and Ellen Shrum, 81.

The two wounded officers were identified as James Johnson, 31, and John Hudson, 24. Johnson was released from a hospital Saturday evening after treatment for a gunshot wound, while Hudson was released earlier following treatment for minor injuries, state police said.

Along with the two officers, seven others — five women and two men ranging in age from 20 to 65 — were injured in the shooting. Four of those remain hospitalized as of Saturday night, including a woman in critical condition at a Little Rock hospital, state police said. The three others were treated and released.

The shooter, identified by police as 44-year-old Travis Eugene Posey of New Edinburg, Arkansas, has been arrested. Police said he was first treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries he sustained in the shootout with officers, and was then taken into state police custody on three counts of capital murder.

One witness, David Rodriguez, was at a gas station next to the grocery store when the shooting started. He told CBS News he pulled into the gas station and "heard some popping" and at first he thought it was fireworks. Then, he said, he heard the sirens and saw the police pull up and "people just started running all over the place."

Rodriguez took out his cellphone and started filming moments after he heard the shots. "There is someone lying in the parking lot shot," he can be heard saying.

Rodriguez told CBS News, "It was quite a scare."

Ken Vanderzwalm, who worked three doors down from the grocery store at a lawn mower supplier, told CBS News several people ran into their shop when the shooting started, "crying and screaming." Vanderzwalm, a former police officer, who said he was armed, said he let the people know they would "be safe" inside the building.

"We had a lot of kids who were really traumatized," he said.

Vanderzwalm said he was pretty shaken up and described it like "something you see on TV," where shots were being continuously fired.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanderssaid on social media: "I have been briefed on the tragic shooting in Fordyce, and I'm in constant contact with State Police at the scene. I am thankful to law enforcement and first responders for their quick and heroic action to save lives. My prayers are with the victims and all those impacted by this."

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said special agents from the ATF's New Orleans field office are at the scene and providing assistance in response to the shooting.

The White House put out a statement that said, "We are grateful for the law enforcement officers who put themselves in harm's way by engaging the suspect and bringing him into custody. Federal law enforcement is assisting with the local investigation."

It's the latest mass shooting where a grocery store is its backdrop. A white supremacist in 2022 killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket. That shooting came a little more than a year after one at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket, where 10 people were killed.

    In:
  • Arkansas

Cara Tabachnick

Cara Tabachnick is a news editor at CBSNews.com. Cara began her career on the crime beat at Newsday. She has written for Marie Claire, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. She reports on justice and human rights issues. Contact her at cara.tabachnick@cbsinteractive.com

4 killed, 9 wounded in mass shooting outside Arkansas grocery store (2024)

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