Woman tells police she swam across Arkansas River after being kidnapped during double shooting

Found shivering in west Little Rock, she recounts fatal gunfire

In the early hours of Christmas Day, police found a woman shivering and soaked near the Arkansas River in west Little Rock.

The woman, who authorities say was kidnapped during a double shooting in Lonoke County hours before, told police she swam across the river after being thrown from a bridge.

Police said she had early signs of hypothermia and reported witnessing a shooting.

Later on, while Lonoke County detectives were talking with Jamie Shipp, the woman named Richard Gilliam as one of the two men involved in the incident, according to a police report.

Gilliam, 33, was taken into custody at a Little Rock apartment complex later Monday and was booked into the Lonoke County jail on charges of capital murder, kidnapping, criminal attempt to commit capital murder and aggravated residential burglary.

Court records show Gilliam also had been arrested in March. The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney's office charged him with possession of firearms by certain persons, a felony count, and a misdemeanor count of drug possession.

The Lonoke County sheriff's office said deputies responded around 12:23 a.m. Monday to an address on Johnson Road in Scott for a report of a shooting.

Arriving deputies found two people shot, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. Authorities said one of the victims, 49-year-old Arlin Wayne Nugent from Scott, died from his injuries.

The statement did not include a medical condition for the second victim.

Authorities said two men entered and "began to shoot at the people in the residence" before kidnapping the woman who was found by Little Rock police near the Arkansas River.

Capt. David Bufford, with the sheriff's office, said authorities were still looking for the second suspect Tuesday afternoon.

"We're following a lot of leads right now," he said.

He said the shooting was not a random incident, and the shooters were known to the victims.

"The evil that was shown by these two males -- this was bad," he said.

Shipp, 42, was found around 3:07 a.m. Monday, hours after the Lonoke County sheriff's office responded to the shooting, when Little Rock police were called to 4400 River Mountain Road on a report that a woman was in the ditch screaming for help.

Police said they found Shipp shivering and wet from head to toe. She was put in the back of a patrol unit, where officers covered her with jackets to try to warm her.

Officers at that time were told that Shipp had possibly been kidnapped and was a witness to a shooting in Lonoke County.

When police asked what had happened to her, Shipp said she witnessed a shooting and said, "There was a lot of blood," according to the report.

She said "they" threw her off a bridge and she had to swim across the river, the report said. Authorities noted in the report that the temperature was around 32 degrees early Monday.

Emergency medical personnel took Shipp to UAMS Medical Center.

Authorities later took Gilliam into custody and he was booked into the Lonoke County jail around 1:11 p.m.


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Metro on 12/27/2017