FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Saturday, Jul 01, 2017
City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421
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Mayor, Chief provide updates and vow action after early morning shooting
LITTLE ROCK (July 1, 2017) – On Saturday afternoon Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola joined Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner to provide updates and address questions regarding the early morning shooting at the Power Ultra Lounge in downtown Little Rock.
The shooting, which broke out at approximately 2:30 a.m., has left 28 injured with 25 sustaining gunshot wounds and three injuries people injured while attempting to escape the scene. At this time, all are expected to survive their injuries.
Mayor Stodola led off the remarks stating:
“My heart was broken again when I heard this news from very early this morning. Heartbroken for the victims, heartbroken for their families, and heartbroken for our city. I want to commend and thank our first responders. Thanks to their response, the work of the medical professionals at our hospitals, and the grace of God – all are expected to survive. This was not an act of terrorism, but a terrible local tragedy and does not appear to have been a planned out shooting. It appears that this was a disagreement - amongst a small subset of individuals at a concert - that turned violent because of the presence of existing rivalries and weapons.”
Chief Buckner emphasized that there is no active risk for the community at large and again acknowledged the actions of officers, first responders, and local hospitals that likely saved lives. He also confirmed that this incident appears to be a continuation of ongoing disputes among local groups that have led to recent shooting incidents throughout the city.
Mayor Stodola returned to the podium to commend those in the community and within the police department who have dedicated their lives to ending the violence in Little Rock. He referenced his shared frustration that “time, resources, and coordination are not yet yielding the results we want,” but vowed to press forward.
The mayor was unequivocal in stating that the Power Ultra Lounge would not continue to operate through a combination of efforts that include placing it in the City of Little Rock’s Criminal Abatement Program. He also looked forward saying that “We will be working with Governor Hutchinson, as well as other state and local officials, to crack down on those who are on probation and parole who are illegally carrying weapons.” The City will be working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, through Prosecutor Larry Jegley, to get more gun cases adopted at the Federal level with its stiffer penalties in an effort to keep repeat gun offenders off the streets, he said. The City’s Violent Crime Apprehension Team, which consists of 25 officers working fulltime in violent crime hot spots to apprehend violent offenders, was also mentioned as a way to stem the current trend of violence.
Mayor Stodola expressed his belief that the issue of violence and crime “cannot be resolved simply through arrests and convictions.” He highlighted the City’s Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment programs and emphasized the need to give people something to lose – “Opportunity is the key – and I have no magic wand to undo the disparities in opportunity, but together we can do the hard work that it’s going to take to change that.”
Stodola closed by stating, “We have got to have the community come forward and communicate with our police officers. We cannot solve these cases without the community adopting the desire to make sure that Little Rock is going to be a safe place to live and to grow up.”