Interim Pine Bluff Police Chief Lloyd Franklin is asking all officers, regardless of rank, to patrol the streets in the wake of two homicides within hours of each other, the first ones recorded in 2022.
Franklin confirmed Saturday morning police are in the early stages of investigations into a shooting late Friday at 1020 S. Linden St. that left one person dead at the scene and another injured, and another homicide early Saturday at 2200 W. 10th. Ave.
According to a news release from Sgt. Richard Wegner, officers responded to South Linden at 9:45 p.m. Friday and found a deceased adult male in an apartment. Another adult victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Wegner said.
Officers also responded to West 10th at about 2:45 a.m. Saturday and found a deceased man in a vehicle in a parking lot.
Police are withholding names of the victims in both homicides, pending notification of next of kin.
“Of what we’re seeing so far, I have not seen anything that makes me think they’re just random,” Franklin told The Commercial on Saturday. “However, as of Sunday, every certified police officer’s schedule will change, and they will have to work the streets, regardless of their rank or their position. If they can’t do that, then they must have a medical reason why they cannot.”
Franklin added he’s asking for the public’s help in solving these homicides but also not to put themselves in harm’s way.
“Most of these cases, people know where they’re being shot at, but as far as making this city safer, that’s where the citizens are paying us,” Franklin said, stating his strongest position to date on recent killings. Pine Bluff recorded 29 homicides during 2021.
Franklin added he will seek assistance from the Arkansas State Police and Jefferson County sheriff’s office, adding he’s requesting help in investigations and working the streets.
“I’m not just asking them to come in,” he said. “I’m asking them for tactical things I need help with, not just writing citations.
“We’re going to make this city safer,” Franklin added. “We are in, kind of like a garden. We have a lot of wild weeds growing in there, and we got into it over a period of time, and we just have to remove all of that out and take care of our city.”