Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Democratic Party Chair In Arkansas Murdered

Arkansas Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney was shot at State Democratic Party Headquarters in Little Rock. At around 11:50 a.m. today a man walked into Democratic Headquarters and demanded to speak with the Chairman. Staff tried to turn him away but he pushed his way in and shot Gwatney then fled the scene.

A suspect was later shot and detained by Little Rock Police. No motive is given, but I suspect this is similar to the hate crime committed in Nashville last month. My suspicions come from this part of the story in the Arkansas Times,
Police may have picked up the shooter's trail because he threatened someone with a gun nearby. Reports were that a man with a gun confronted a building manager in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention office building a few blocks east of Democratic headquarters and said he'd lost his job. He pointed the gun, but didn't shoot. He fled in a vehicle whose description was reported to police.

That line about being out of work sounds earily familliar to the excuse given by the shooter in Nashville. I have to wonder if this isn't a US version of the sectarian violence that fundamentalism has caused in the Middle East.


According to an AP report the gunman is dead:

A gunman who barged into Arkansas' Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday and fired three shots at the party chairman was fatally wounded during a 30-mile chase, Little Rock police said.

The gunman had wanted to speak to party chairman Bill Gwatney and, after being denied entry, went into the office anyway, according to Gwatney's secretary. The suspect was chased into Grant County, south of Little Rock, and died later, according to police Lt. Terry Hastings.

UPDATE 2: Arkansas Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney has died from his gunshot wounds.

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