4th Arkansas grocery store shooting victim dies; charges pending against suspected gunman

Victims ID'd as 23-year-old Callie Weems, 50-year-old Roy Sturgis, 62-year-old Shirley Taylor and 81-year-old Ellen Shrum

ByDalia Faheid, CNN CNNWire logo
Monday, June 24, 2024
4th Arkansas grocery store shooting victim dies; charges pending
Travis Eugene Posey, the suspected Fordyce, Arkansas shooter, is expected to be charged with four counts of capital murder.

FORDYCE, Ark. -- A fourth victim died Saturday evening following a shooting at a grocery store in Fordyce, Arkansas, authorities said, as police continued to investigate the attack.

A man opened fire at the Mad Butcher in Fordyce on Friday, killing four people ranging in age from 23 to 81 years old and wounding nine others.

The suspected shooter, identified by authorities as 44-year-old Travis Eugene Posey, is expected to be charged with four counts of capital murder, with additional charges pending, according to an Arkansas State Police news release. He is set to appear in court on Monday, Dallas County prosecutor Eric Marks said.

Law enforcement responded to the shooting around 11:30 a.m. and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, according to Arkansas State Police. Cellphone video captured a man in the parking lot aiming a long gun and firing in multiple directions.

Matthew Gill, the meat manager at the Mad Butcher, told CNN a man came into the store with a shotgun and ended up in a shootout with police.

Posey was "treated for non-life-threatening injuries after exchanging gunfire with law enforcement" and taken to the Ouachita County Detention Center, state police said in the release. It is unclear if Posey has retained legal counsel at this point.

The four people killed in the shooting were identified by police as: 23-year-old Callie Weems, 50-year-old Roy Sturgis, 62-year-old Shirley Taylor, and 81-year-old Ellen Shrum.

Taylor's daughter, Angela Atchley, told CNN her mother loved her family and kids and was "the hardest working woman I know" and a "great person."

"We are completely lost," Atchley said.

Five women and two men from 20 to 65 years old were injured in the shooting. Four of them are still in the hospital, including a woman who is in critical condition. Three victims were treated and released on Friday. Two police officers were also wounded in the gunfire, with one released from the hospital Saturday evening and another having minor injuries.

The country has seen a spate of shootings in the past few weeks, with 24 mass shootings recorded by the Gun Violence Archive since last Friday. Shootings permeated a Michigan splash pad, a Texas Juneteenth celebration and a Massachusetts car meetup, among other locations.

They are among at least 238 mass shootings have taken place in the United States in 2024, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter.

Panicked shoppers hid in freezer and ran for cover

Katrina Doherty - who had been shopping for dinner with her 18-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son - said she first thought she heard the sound of something falling but then saw glass shatter and someone drop to the ground. That's when she knew shots were being fired.

Outside, David Rodriguez was pulling into a gas station when he heard "pops" that he initially thought were fireworks. He then noticed the grocery store's front windows were broken - as if they had been "shot open" by gunfire, Rodriguez said.

Panicked shoppers then started running away as gunshots were fired rapidly, Rodriguez said.

Not finding an escape route, Doherty and others in the store hurriedly hid in a freezer. Doherty's daughter and son, who were in a different aisle, reunited with their mother in the back of the store and followed two store workers into the freezer. The 39-year-old mother said she heard about nine or ten rounds before making it into the icy shelter.

"We ran in there really fast. We still heard gunshots keep going off," Doherty said. "It was like slow motion. My daughter was like 'Mama, pinch me, this can't be real.' And I was like, 'Baby, it's real.'"

From outside, Rodriguez heard sirens and watched as ambulances and police arrived at the scene.

Doherty couldn't hear what was happening outside, and when they tried to call 9-1-1, there was no service. The group stayed inside, enduring the freezing cold in "panic mode," with some praying and others crying, she recalled.

Her son started to cry, "but we finally got him calmed down because I didn't want the shooter to hear."

"We were just sitting there and praying. I was in panic mode. My son about froze to death. We tried to get him quiet, but he was saying he wanted his daddy. It felt like we were in there forever," Doherty said. "We were in there maybe 15 minutes. I was asking the Lord to protect over everybody. I was just praying. The other lady, she was praying. She was crying."

At one point, one of the workers opened the freezer door, and saw someone dead right outside of it, Doherty said. The door remained shut until one of the store workers heard police outside, and they were then escorted out of the store, Doherty said.

Once she was out of the store, Doherty reunited with her 15-year-old twin daughters who were waiting outside in the car during the shooting and ducked down when they heard the gunshots.

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