Gunman shoots Ark. Democratic executive

Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A gunman entered the Arkansas Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday and shot the party chairman, who was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.

The gunman asked to speak to the pary chairman, Bill Gwatney , and fired three shots.

“He came in and went into this office and started shooting,” police Lt. Terry Hastings told reporters near the party headquarters.

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Gwatney, a former legislator, was in critical condition, Hastings said.

The suspect was chased into Grant County, south of Little Rock, and apprehended after being shot, the police spokesman said. The suspect’s condition was not known.

Sarah Lee, a sales clerk at a flower shop across street from the party headquarters, said that around noon Gwatney’s secretary ran into the shop and asked someone to call 911. She said a man had come into the party and shot Gwatney multiple times.

Lee said the secretary told her the man had come into the party’s office and asked to speak with Gwatney. When the secretary said she wouldn’t allow him to meet with Gwatney, the man went into his office and shot him, Lee said.

She said the secretary described the man as in his 40s and white and drove off in a blue truck.