Little Rock - Newly released 911 recordings depict a frantic, chaotic scene as a grandmother pulls into a Little Rock shopping center and discovers her 3-year-old grandson has been shot in what police describe as a road-rage killing.
"The woman's saying this little kid's been shot," a female caller said on the 911 call, released on Tuesday to The Associated Press under an open-records request. According to police, the grandmother, Kim King-Macon, was in her car at a stop sign in the pouring rain on Saturday when a man driving a black Chevrolet Impala opened fire on her vehicle, fatally striking the boy.
King-Macon told police that she didn't realise her grandson had been shot until she pulled into the shopping mall a few kilometers from where the shooting occurred and discovered the toddler slumped over in his seat. No arrests have been made and the FBI said on Monday's it's joining the investigation. A $40 000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
In the 911 recording, a dispatcher asks the caller - an apparent bystander at the shopping mall — for any suspect information. The caller yells: "Ma'am, do you know who did it?"
A woman, presumably King-Macon, is heard responding: "I was at the stop sign and the guy blew the horn at me, and I blew it back. And he shot, but I thought he shot in the air. He shot at the car!"
Little Rock police have said there is no apparent connection between King-Macon and the shooter and described the shooting on Twitter as a "road rage incident."
It's the second fatal shooting of a toddler in a month in Little Rock. Last month, 2-year-old Ramiya Reed, who went by the nickname "TinkerBell," was fatally struck by gunfire while riding in the back seat of a vehicle with her mother. No arrests have been made in that case, and police have said they don't know if the two shootings are connected.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson decried the violence at a state Capitol news conference to discuss his legislative agenda.
"Is there something I should be doing as governor whenever you see a 3-year-old toddler shot?" Hutchinson said. "Do we have our patrol system right? Do we have our incarceration policy right? I wake up and think about it. ..."
"It's even reaffirmed in my mind that there is some deterrent benefit from a death penalty," he said. "People have to be accountable for the most egregious violent crimes in our society."