Arkansas Democratic Party Chair Murdered
Bill Gwatney, the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, has been murdered.
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.”
UPDATE: The story gets more bizarre.
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.