Mother of a 10-month-old girl among victims killed in Arkansas grocery store shooting

A 23-year-old nurse and mother to a 10-month-old girl is among the three people killed in a shooting Friday at an Arkansas grocery store.

Callie Weems, who worked at Dallas County Medical Center, was grocery shopping at Mad Butcher in Fordyce when she was shot, NBC affiliate KARK-TV of Little Rock reported.

Her mother, Helen Browning, told the news station that after she heard about the shooting she checked her daughter’s location and it showed that Weems was at the medical center. Browning’s initial thought was that her daughter had gone to work.

“I’m thinking, ‘She’s at work. She came in to help,’” she said.

When Browning got to the grocery store, she was told what happened.

“My best friend was standing right there and I said, ‘Kristie, tell me my baby’s OK.’ And she said, ‘I can’t,’” Browning told KARK-TV. “And that’s when I just broke.”

Browning has now been left grappling with how she is going to raise her granddaughter, Ivy, who she said was Weems’ “saving grace.”

“And now she gets to be mine too,” Browning said.

A motive in the Friday-morning shooting, which appears to have begun in the parking lot, remains unclear. Law enforcement officials briefed on the shooting told NBC News on Saturday that there are no indications of any sort of extremism as a possible motive.

Travis Eugene Posey, 44, of New Edinburg, a community about 11 miles east of Fordyce, was arrested in connection with the shooting and booked at the Ouachita County Detention Center. He was treated earlier Friday for non-life-threatening injuries after exchanging gunfire with officers.

Posey will be charged with three counts of capital murder with additional charges pending, the Arkansas Department of Public Safety said in a news release.

Video that was verified by NBC News but does not reveal what transpired beforehand shows a man in a parking lot firing a long gun. Some rounds appeared to be directed at vehicles.

Eleven people were shot, including the three who died. The identities of the other two victims killed have not been released. Two officers were also injured with non-life-threatening injuries.

Sisters Amiya and Ashiya Doherty were in the back of the family SUV when shots rang out.

“He shot at my mother’s car and hit the tire and pssshshsh,” Amiya said, mimicking the sound of air escaping.

Ashiya, who was also unharmed, said “it was like a movie.”

Amiya said she grabbed her sister and pulled her down to avoid being hit as the windows of nearby cars shattered. Their SUV only suffered tire damage.

Matt Gill, a meat cutter, was in the back of the store when he heard gunfire and shattering glass.

“He came in and started shooting,” he said. “We made it out the back door. I had to get out there, I have a wife and kids at home.”

Roderick Rogers, a Fordyce native and pastor at Grace United Church, recalled seeing “people just lying in the parking lot.”

“There were shots going on everywhere,” he said.

The grocery store said in a statement Saturday that it was “shocked and deeply saddened over the senseless act of violence.”

“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all those affected,” the store posted on Facebook. “We’re truly grateful to our local law enforcement and first responders who arrived on the scene to secure the area and apprehend the suspect. Their swift and courageous actions helped prevent further harm. We can’t thank them enough for their dedication and service.”

The store will remain closed as the investigation continues, Mad Butcher said. Employees will continue to be paid.

Fordyce is a small town about 70 miles south of Little Rock. The attack follows a mass shooting in Oakland, California, where 15 people were wounded during Juneteenth events on Wednesday. That same day, seven people were injured after a shooting in Philadelphia, officials said.

First appeared on www.nbcnews.com

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