NORTH LITTLE ROCK More than two-and-a-half months after a Salvation Army major was fatally shot in front of his three young children, authorities have arrested a suspect.
Laquan Javaris Fitzpatrick, 19, of North Little Rock is being held on a charge of capital murder in the Christmas Eve killing of 40-year-old Philip Wise, who was slain in an apparent robbery attempt.
Fitzpatrick, whom police considered a person of interest early on, was picked up at a residence in Helena this morning.
Cindy Wise, wife of Salvation Army Maj. Philip Wise, is comforted by a woman attending the Sunday church service at the Salvation Army Corps Community Center in North Little Rock. Philip Wise, 40, was shot and killed at the center Christmas Eve.
"This murder really struck the hearts of the people in the city," said North Little Rock Police Chief Danny Bradley. "We are pleased to be able to announce this arrest today."
Arrest made in Salvation Army killingWatch Video
Authorities would not answer questions about the second suspect involved in the slaying, other than to say the investigation was ongoing. The $10,000 reward for information is still active.
Fitzpatrick was still being questioned at the North Little Rock Police Department detective office shortly before 6 p.m. Bradley said he did not know if he had confessed.
Wise, of Maumelle, had just gotten out of a van at the Salvation Army's community center on West 18th Street in the Baring Cross neighborhood after driving a pair of bell-ringers home.
Police have said two black men approached Wise just after 4 p.m., with one of them then pulling out a gun, demanding money and firing the deadly shot.
Responders found Wise lying near the back door of the center. His wife, fellow Salvation Army Major Cindy Wise, was inside the building and called police.
Asked what she wanted to say to Fitzpatrick, Cindy Wise responded:
"I would say 'I'm glad you were apprehended, but at the same time, I want you to know that we pray for forgiveness for you each and every day.'"
Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for Wise, who was remembered then for his dedication to the Salvation Army, his commitment to his faith and his love for his family.
Fitzpatrick was previously arrested Dec. 30, 2009 - less than a week after Wise was killed - when North Little Rock police stopped a vehicle he was in and found three handguns inside. An arrest report shows the offense as illegally carrying a weapon, though the outcome of the case was not immediately known.
Bradley would not say whether investigators believe the weapon used to kill Wise was one of the three recovered from that vehicle.
Salvation Army major shotWatch Video
Remembering Philip WiseWatch Video
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
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