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A 22-year-old Little Rock man found shot to death inside a crashed car last weekend drew public notoriety two years ago when he and another man were arrested with Police Chief Kenton Buckner's lost gun.

Police reports show that Nathaniel Mitchell Sullivan also survived a highway shooting attempt last year in Jefferson County that investigators suspect was linked to drug trafficking in Pine Bluff.

On Sunday, Sullivan, the father of a 22-month-old son, was dead when police arrived at 2100 S. Oak St. shortly before 11 p.m. to investigate gunshots. The car's owner, Cierria Onukwube, 20, of Jacksonville, was next to him and seriously wounded. She died the next day. The 13-year-old black Mercedes-Benz had run off the street and had come to a stop between houses, police said.

Sullivan had been on probation since November 2015 after pleading guilty to theft by receiving stemming from his August 2015 arrest along with Edward McKay Williams, 22. The men had two stolen guns, one of them Buckner's weapon, both fully loaded.

Williams was subsequently cleared of wrongdoing at trial on the judge's ruling that he had not had the weapon on him long enough for it to be considered a crime.

Police arrested the men as they sat in a car in the parking lot of a west Little Rock shopping center. Police had been called by jewelry store workers who were suspicious of the pair because they'd been sitting in the car together for at least an hour with music blaring.

The first officer on the scene stealthily approached the car and saw the two men, each with a gun in his lap. When backup arrived, police arrested the pair and found the police chief's gun, which is etched with the city seal, in a bag in the back seat. The other gun was underneath the passenger seat, where Sullivan had been sitting.

Buckner had reported his pistol missing in June 2015, telling authorities that it had disappeared while he was moving into a new home. He was reprimanded and reimbursed the city $458 for the weapon.

Sullivan was arrested four more times over the next two years. The next arrest was for theft in April 2016, after he'd been on probation for about six months.

Pulaski County sheriff's deputies, investigating a theft from a rental store, chased a stolen 2014 Ford Fusion on Interstate 40 and found Sullivan behind the wheel. He pleaded guilty to theft by receiving last May in exchange for his probation being extended by five years with conditions that included paying the car's owner $20,000 in restitution.

But barely a month later, police were looking for Sullivan on a felony fleeing warrant after state troopers reported chasing him from northbound Interstate 530 in Jefferson County and into Little Rock on June 9.

Police had been dispatched to investigate reports of two cars exchanging gunfire on the highway near mile marker 31.

Troopers caught up to Sullivan's car about 5 miles away, and the driver, Tau'shell Rawls, pulled over and turned off the engine as she was told, according to a police report.

Then she switched places with Sullivan, who'd been in the passenger seat, and he started the car and took off.

[INTERACTIVE MAP: Search all killings in Little Rock, North Little Rock in 2018]

The trooper chased the fleeing vehicle for 27 miles as it forced other cars to weave out of its way, including passing on the shoulder, the report said.

The car exited into Little Rock, running at least four red lights, and driving into oncoming traffic before finally stopping at Charles Bussey Avenue and Brown Street. Rawls got out of the car, and the driver raced off. Police gave up the pursuit then, and the car was later found abandoned.

Rawls told police that Sullivan was her boyfriend and that they were going to Pine Bluff to "buy some weed."

The sellers pulled guns on them, "so they took off," she told investigators, the report states.

Rawls said she didn't know who the men were, but they chased her and Sullivan in two vehicles with someone in one shooting at them.

Rawls, 20, was not charged. She told investigators that Sullivan had pulled her out of the driver's seat and took over the vehicle after she had stopped.

Court records show Sullivan was arrested about two weeks later after a state trooper tried to pull him over on Interstate 630 West near Mississippi Street for driving 85 mph in a 60 mph zone in the middle of the night on June 20, court records show.

The trooper pursued Sullivan off the highway and through Little Rock until Sullivan reached the Windsor Arms apartments at 1601 N. Bryant St., where he got out of the car and ran, but was chased down by police. He was found to be carrying a gun, cocaine and marijuana, according to an arrest report.

His final arrest was Sept. 10, about 1½ weeks before he turned 22. The car he was riding in was stopped by Little Rock police in the 4500 block of Asher Avenue for a traffic infraction, and officers realized Sullivan had an arrest warrant pending on gun and drug charges. Details of those allegations, involving an incident in August, were not immediately available on Wednesday.

Sullivan ran from the car, but police tracked him to an abandoned home at 3014 Adams St., an arrest report said.

Sullivan's arrest with the police chief's gun was not his first.

He'd had at least one arrest as a minor before August 2013, a month before his 18th birthday, when he and three other teens were charged as adults with aggravated robbery.

Police said Sullivan led the holdup, which targeted two other teens; he was the only one of the four who had a gun. But prosecutors dropped the charges when one of Sullivan's co-defendants backed out of an agreement to cooperate after getting into more trouble with the law.

Another of Sullivan's co-defendants, Deonte Tywon "Strong" Jones, is serving a 27-year prison sentence for first-degree murder and other charges for running over a woman in a South University Avenue drugstore parking lot with a sport utility vehicle while fleeing police in September 2014.


More headlines

Metro on 03/23/2018

Print Headline: Chief's stolen gun, shootouts, chases in slain man's past

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  • ketchupmustard
    March 23, 2018 at 3 a.m.

    That’s a lot of scumbaggery to cram into 22 years. No doubt some outstanding member of his family is ranting away about his death being a “set up” by Buckner or some other nonsensical idiocy. It was only a matter of time before this idiot killed someone else (assuming he hadn’t already). Probably a cohort of Lil Boosie.

  • titleist10
    March 23, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.

    They just don't change-when is society going to realize this?

  • ZeebronZ
    March 23, 2018 at 9:17 a.m.

    Boy, as much crap as he did and was still free, it doesn't surprise me somebody capped him. I'm sure he'd been doing bad stuff to the other bad guys, too. It doesn't look like he went more than a few weeks at a time without running into trouble with the law. I guess the rest of the time he was getting in trouble with the lawless.

  • GeneralMac
    March 23, 2018 at 9:27 a.m.

    We don't need more gun laws.

    We need stiffer sentences for any crime involving guns and that should include a felon being in possession.

  • ToTheLeft
    March 23, 2018 at 10:11 a.m.

    It doesn’t get much stiffer than “dead.” Live by the gun, die by the gun.

  • Packman
    March 23, 2018 at 11:08 a.m.

    How in the hell was this career criminal not incarcerated? How many more of these lowlife thugs are out on the street on "probation"?
    If you are a law-abiding citizen and not already carrying a concealed handgun you are making a mistake, considering the FACT career criminals are allowed to walk among us due to a highly ineffective justice system. When seconds count, law enforcement is only minutes away.

  • GeneralMac
    March 23, 2018 at 11:49 a.m.

    Packman.......Lil Boosi was heading down the same path because lenient judges keep slapping the fingers of violent young thugs and thinking that is how you rehabilitate them.

  • i_lay_hardwood_yahoo
    March 23, 2018 at 1:59 p.m.


  • Trailop
    March 23, 2018 at 6 p.m.

    Give them enough rope and they hang themselves. Pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.

  • Winfield
    March 24, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.

    The public will be much more safe now that he's gone from it.