A man was killed and four others were injured in an exchange of gunfire late Tuesday night at a Little Rock apartment that police were investigating as a possible robbery attempt, authorities said.
Dispatch records show officers were called shortly before 11:20 p.m. to an apartment complex at 25 Par Drive, which is north of Baseline Road and west of Stagecoach Road.
Police found four people inside an apartment who had been struck by gunfire, including the man who died, later identified as 18-year-old Alexander Reed of Little Rock, said Little Rock Police Department spokesman Lt. Steve McClanahan.
The three who survived — 21-year-old Quinn Muller, 18-year-old Rachael Benson and 19-year-old Stephanie Waters, all of Little Rock — were tenants of the apartment, police reported. They were said to be in stable condition Wednesday morning.
A child was also inside the apartment during the shooting but was not injured, McClanahan said.
Police believe Reed knew the victims and coordinated a robbery, McClanahan said, though authorities are still investigating the motive. He said the crime may be drug-related.
The victims told police Reed arrived at the apartment with an unknown man Tuesday night, and the stranger let two other men into the home, according to a news release. Once inside, of the men pulled out a handgun and said, “This is a robbery,” officials said.
As the gunman started shooting, Muller told police he took out his handgun and returned fire.
“Obviously ... you do have the right to defend yourself,” McClanahan said.
During the exchange, Reed was fatally struck and he died at the scene. Authorities were later notified of a Pine Bluff man, 21-year-old Alvin Chaffin, being treated at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in that city for a gunshot wound to his hand. After talking with witnesses, investigators were able to link Chaffin to the shooting and they believe he is one of the men who was with Reed, police said.
Chaffin is in custody and charges against him are pending. He is the only person who has been arrested so far, McClanahan said, and the Little Rock homicide unit is working with Pine Bluff Police to determine more information about potential suspects.
When a homicide involves groups of people, it can take longer for authorities to put those pieces together, McClanahan said.
“The more people you have involved, the more complicated it is because you’ve got multiple stories. You’ve got to see how they connect,” he said.
McClanahan also said detectives are working to figure out how many total shots were fired. Because the apartments are close together, it’s fortunate that no one else was struck by a stray bullet, he said.
The first-floor apartment was taped off and several officers were still on scene at 8:30 a.m. The residence sits at the back of a two-story building and faces a putting green and a small lake with a fountain in the middle.
Alecia Jones, who lives with her sister and daughter in the building next door, said she was in bed when she heard three shots last night. The shots were spaced out, she said, and didn't sound close by.
Then Jones heard sirens, and she later watched authorities take one victim away on a stretcher, she said.
Jones said the apartment complex is relatively calm, though she did hear shots fired on New Year's. Since then, it's been quiet, she said.
Another neighbor said he slept through the shots but heard the sirens. He said there's occasional gunfire a mile or two down the road but not near his home.
Neighbor Jason Hendrix lives with his mother in an upstairs apartment in the same building and said he woke up to a round of gunfire. His mother was standing on the balcony when the shots rang out and came inside to get him, he said.
Hendrix said he heard a second round of gunshots, punctuated by people yelling downstairs.
He has lived in the apartment for more than a decade and said the only crime residents typically deal with are car break-ins and smaller theft.
The killing is the third homicide in Little Rock so far in 2017.
Police originally reported the wrong birth date for Reed.
Check back for updates and read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.