FORT SMITH, AR – Authorities say a 26-year-old gunman was firing at residents at an apartment complex earlier in May, fatally wounding an 87-year-old woman during the spate of gunfire.
However, it was reportedly thanks to another resident that also had a firearm that this alleged gunman was taken down.
UPDATE: The two individuals that died in today's shooting in Fort Smith have been identified. New details released. https://t.co/Xj5W6Tzl4c
— 5NEWS (@5NEWS) May 15, 2021
According to reports, the incident at the apartment complex occurred on May 15th at approximately 7:23 a.m. at an apartment complex located within the 3500 block of S. 74th Street in Fort Smith. Authorities say that 26-year-old Zachary Arnold was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and was shooting at neighboring apartments.
One resident at the complex and witness to the incident, Janey Peugh, stated that Arnold was trying to lure potential victims out of their apartments during the gunfire:
“He was yelling and screaming, ‘You guys get out here, come out here, everyone get out of this building right now.’”
While Arnold was reportedly yelling, witnesses say that 87-year-old Lois Hicks and another resident went outside to calm Arnold down. But apparently, once Hicks and the other resident saw the weapon in Arnold’s hands, they both decided to rush back into their apartment.
According to witness Amber Lane, Hicks did not close her door when she ran back in the apartment, which Arnold reportedly followed her inside the apartment and shot her:
“There were two older women, both had come out. One of them had ran back in, and the other one ran back in, but she didn’t close her door, then he walked in and did what he did.”
Tenants at the apartment complex were taking cover inside of their homes while the suspect allegedly continued shooting into several apartment units. But one man had apparently retrieved a rifle of his own, and fatally shot Arnold.
Amber Lane is among those appreciative of this armed citizen’s initiative:
“If he didn’t do that, who knows how much worse it could have gotten.”
Dixie property management, the entity that oversees the apartment complex where the incident occurred, released the following statement on the matter:
“We are terribly saddened by the incident which happened this morning. We are working diligently with the police in any way we can. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families today.”
Ron Gatling, a friend, and neighbor of the now-deceased Hicks, says that she’s going to miss her friend:
“She was like an angel. She was a real sweet lady…She’s going to be missed.”
Authorities have not identified the armed citizen that reportedly shot Arnold.
This is an ongoing investigation.
Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this developing case.