Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two Shootings; Two Nights

HELENA-WEST HELENA --- The Helena West Helena Police Department, The Phillips County Sheriff's Department, The Arkansas State Police, The Phillips County Coroner and other law enforcement agencies responded to the area of College and York Streets tonight. There they found a White Dodge Extra Cab Pickup Truck bearing Campbell's Lawn Service on the doors and a Teal Blue Sedan similar to a Pontiac Sunrise or Chevy Cavalier. They received a call around 9:20 p.m. informing them about the incident.

A crowd was gathering as the local residents had heard the shots ring out. There was screaming and utter confusion on the scene. Within just a few minutes the crowd in the area had swelled to nearly 300 people. Police taped off an area about 2500 square feet and deemed it a crime scene.

We inquired of Major Ronald Scott, who is the Assistant Chief of Police, for information regarding the apparent killing. "Our department has no statement at this time," he explained. "We are investigating this crime vigorously," he continued. Sergeant Michael J. Thomas, Officer Chris Hellums and Deputy Bennie Daniels managed the crowd from the east side of the crime scene at the corner of York and College as you look east toward Johnson's Studio and Centennial Church. Assistant Chief Scott was identified as the police department's public information officer or official spokesperson.

It appeared that Captain Carl Vann, a veteran with the department, informed the next of kin of the deceased. As he walked away from them, there were notable sighs of grief and disbelief.

Mr. Johnny White, Mr. Charles McGhee and Mr. Johnnie Wesley each live in the immediate area of the crime scene. From our information, the driver of the Dodge Pickup was shot "up the hill" at the west end of York Street which is a Dead End Street. Upon being shot, the driver attempted to quickly leave the area and backed his truck down the hill where he apparently struck the small sedan.

Michael J. "Mag" Campbell, who was born May 22, 1978, died of the gunshot wounds he received in this incident. No suspects have yet been named. Mag was apparently loved by many. Those in the crowd shouted "this is wrong," "he was a good man," "he wouldn't hurt nobody," and "they did this to the wrong one."

Rev. Danny Robinson and his wife Gloria, who recently suffered flooding in their area and other stressful events of their own, came to the scene to be "strong towers" for the members of their church. Rev. Robinson is the pastor of the Beautiful Zion Church on Beautiful Zion Lane. Campbell and his family are believed to have attended that church. Many members of the church were in the crowd of on-lookers.

In the last month or so, Mag had refurbished an old abandoned building in the 500 block of Rightor Street and brought new life to it as "Campbell's Lawn Service." Campbell intended to host other small businesses in the building as well. One such business was a barbershop.

This is the second shooting in as many nights. Last night a 16 year old was shot in the face in the 1100 block of Cherry Street or "over the levee."

This is the second shooting death in less than one week. On Friday, April 22, 2011, Laquinta Henry, 21, was shot in the head at point blank range and died from the injury received. Crime rates seem to spike during the spring and summer months.

Upon being furnished additional information, we will update this tragic story.

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