• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Arkansas Democratic Party Chair Murdered

Bill Gwatney, the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, has been murdered.

Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney is seen in an undated handout photo. One man was wounded by shots fired at the Democratic Party\'s Arkansas state headquarters in Little Rock, CNN reported on Wednesday. The ArkansasOnline Web site identified the man as Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney and said his condition was unknown. REUTERS/Arkansas Democratic Party/Handout A man barged into the Arkansas Democratic headquarters and opened fire Wednesday, fatally shooting the state party chairman before speeding off in his pickup. Police later shot and killed the suspect after a 30-mile chase.

Police said they don’t know the motive for the 51-year-old suspect, whose name has not been released. However, they said moments after the shooting, he pointed a handgun at the building manager at the nearby the Arkansas Baptist headquarters. He told the manager “I lost my job,” said Dan Jordan, a Baptist convention official.

Chairman Bill Gwatney died four hour after the shooting. The 48-year-old former state senator had been planning to travel to the Democratic National Convention later this month as a Hillary Clinton superdelegate.

Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, issued a statement calling Gwatney “not only a strong chairman of Arkansas’ Democratic Party, but he is also a cherished friend and confidante.”

Tragic.

UPDATE: The story gets more bizarre.

This undated photo released by the Little Rock Police Department on Wednesday Aug. 13, 2008 shows a man identified by the police as Timothy Dale Johnson . Johnson barged into the Arkansas Democratic headquarters Wednesday and fatally shot the state party chairman before speeding off in his pickup. Police later shot and killed the suspect after a 30-mile chase. (AP Photo/Little Rock Police Dept)Police and neighbors are struggling to explain why a man described as a loner drove more than 30 miles to Arkansas’ Democratic Party headquarters and fatally shot its chairman hours after getting fired from his job.

Police said Timothy Dale Johnson, 50, of Searcy, barged into Bill Gwatney’s office on Wednesday and shot him multiple times. There were no signs that Gwatney and Johnson, who was later shot dead by officers, knew each other.

Johnson had no previous criminal record.  Apparently, he had just lost his job and decided he needed to shoot somebody.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Patrick T McGuire says:

    Tragic indeed! And yet no more tragic than the many other such murders that occur every day in this country. Presumably this story is getting more coverage than the other murders because this is an election year and the victim was a state political party head. However, I am willing to bet that once the facts come out, the motive for the murder had nothing to do with politics.

    Which makes this story ironic and tragic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  2. Bithead says:

    However, I am willing to bet that once the facts come out, the motive for the murder had nothing to do with politics.

    Even money that this will be spun into something political, whatever the reason behind the attack. At the least, they’re going to start preaching about gun control again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  3. Joe says:

    It’s unbelievable the toll guns have on our society. While the Supreme Court is handing out decisions like DC v. Heller, the chairman of the Democratic Party is shot dead. Comprehensive gun control laws are absolutely needed in this day and age.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 27

  4. Bithead says:

    LOL!
    Did I call this?

    Joe, in all candor, would you feel better had Gwatney been knifed?
    A look at British society after they added ‘Comprehensive gun control laws’ will give you an indication of where we’d be if we followed that advice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  5. Michael says:

    However, I am willing to bet that once the facts come out, the motive for the murder had nothing to do with politics.

    I find it difficult to believe that somebody would drive 30 miles to the state headquarters of a political party, and shoot it’s chairman, who you don’t even know, multiple times, without it having something to do with politics.

    It’s unbelievable the toll guns have on our society. While the Supreme Court is handing out decisions like DC v. Heller, the chairman of the Democratic Party is shot dead. Comprehensive gun control laws are absolutely needed in this day and age.

    Just because both cases involved guns, doesn’t mean one was in any way effected or preventable by the other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. James M. says:

    Gun control is a fallacy it doesn’t work! You would have to literally destroy every gun on the planet for it to work. As long as guns can be stolen or smuggled you will always have the people who shouldn’t have them getting them and the rest of us will be at their mercy. Look at Australia and Britain they have tried strict gun control with no success.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2