A man was killed and 27 people were injured when two people got into a firefight at an auto show that is part of an annual community event in a small town in southeastern Arkansas, authorities said Sunday.
A person who left the scene of the Saturday night shooting has been arrested on unrelated charges and is being questioned about the shooting in Dumas, a town of about 4,000 people located about 90 miles southeast of Little Rock, Arkansas State Police Col. said Bill Bryant.
“All we know at this point was two individuals getting into a gunfight,” Bryant said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
He said several children were among the injured, including two under the age of 2.
The auto show is part of a community event held each spring called Hood-Nic, which is short for neighborhood picnic. The Hood-Nic Foundation says on its website that its mission is to “rebuild, reunite and respond to the needs of youth in our communities.”
The event, which raises money for scholarships and school supplies, also included a bonfire, a basketball tournament, musical performances, a teen party and balloon release.
“Hood-Nic’s goal has always been to bring the community together,” the foundation said on its Facebook page. “This senseless violence must stop.”
“It’s always been a family-friendly event with a message of nonviolence,” said Kris Love-Keys, the foundation’s chief development officer.
Cameron Shaffer, 23, of Jacksonville, Arkansas, was killed in the gunfire, Bryant said. He said authorities have no indication that he was involved in the gunfight.
Earlier in the day, Governor Asa Hutchinson said on Twitter that one of the two suspects had been arrested and held on unrelated charges. But the state police would later only say that the arrested person was being questioned.
“As the investigation progresses, I will examine details to see if steps have been taken to prevent this type of tragedy,” Hutchinson said.
Six people under the age of 18 injured by gunfire have been taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, a spokeswoman said. Most were released on Sunday afternoon.
Wallace McGehee, the auto show organizer, told KARK that when the bullets started flying, he started “running, bending over, going down, trying to get kids out of the way.”
Candace McKinzie, who helped organize the event, told The New York Times that the gunfire seemed to come out of nowhere.
“You went from laughing and talking and eating and shooting everything to random,” she said.
McKinzie said people started running and tripping over each other and older people fell.
Those who were shot include McKinzie’s cousin and sister. She said both are expected to recover.
Chris Jones, a Democrat running for governor of Arkansas, tweeted that he attended the event earlier Saturday, registering voters and enjoying “a positive family atmosphere.”
“I am deeply saddened (and genuinely angry) by this tragedy,” Jones said in a statement.
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