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Little Rock police search for vehicle in connection with 2 homicides

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Brianna Kwasnik, Grant Lancaster | November 17, 2021 at 4:05 p.m.
Police tape

The Little Rock police chief Wednesday called for community aid in identifying a vehicle that may be connected to two homicides Tuesday evening that he said were "the acts of cowards."

Chief Keith Humphrey showed a security camera still of a red Jeep Liberty at a news conference, asking for anyone who recognized the vehicle to contact the department's tip line.

"This could be a major lead," he said, adding that the department was seeking warrants for several people investigators think were involved.

Police have investigated 57 homicides so far this year in the city, police spokesman Mark Edwards said.

That toll surpasses the 55 homicides reported last year, according to City of Little Rock statistics, and is the most homicides on record since 2010, the first year of statistics immediately available.

“This is getting very old,” Humphrey said.

Just before 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, officers responding to a shooting at Keats Drive and Dreher Lane found a woman shot to death in a vehicle at the scene of a traffic incident at Geyer Springs Road and Nova Lane.

The woman had yet to be positively identified as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, but Humphrey said she was a young mother.

Later that evening, around 8:45 p.m., officers responded to a shooting at 10015 Republic Lane, finding 18-year-old Xavier Johnson shot. Johnson later died of his wounds.

Humphrey called the two homicides "isolated shootings," but said investigators believe they could be related. The location of the second shooting is about a mile south of the first along Geyer Springs Road.

"We plan to make an arrest in the very near future," Humphrey said.

Humphrey said that shooting at people from behind or attacking them near their homes is cowardly, and fleeing the scene is even more cowardly. It was not immediately clear if either of the victims in Tuesday's shootings were shot in the back or near their homes.

"These individuals show no respect for life," Humphrey said.

The Dreher Lane homicide was especially brazen because it was not far from Arkansas State Police headquarters, Humphrey said.

"That's hard to believe," he said.

12:10 p.m.: Police ID man killed in Little Rock Tuesday night; homicide is metropolitan area’s 3rd in a day

Little Rock police on Wednesday morning identified the man killed the night before in Little Rock.

The homicide was the city's second in 24 hours. The killing came the same day a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot in North Little Rock, according to authorities.

Xavier Johnson, 18, of Little Rock was killed in the 10000 block of Republic Lane, according to tweets from Little Rock police.

Earlier Tuesday evening, police said they were investigating a separate homicide in the 8200 block of Geyer Springs Road, near Arkansas State Police headquarters.

In North Little Rock, police were investigating the slaying of a 17-year-old boy at the Shorter Gardens Apartments, 800 N. Beech St.


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