Today's Paper Arkansas News Public Notices Elections Core Values Newsletters Sports Archive Obits Puzzles Opinion Story Ideas
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Man, 39, dies in shooting outside Hot Springs High graduation ceremony

by Mark Gregory, Steven Mross, Brandon Smith, Andrew Mobley | May 13, 2022 at 3:06 p.m.
A shooting victim is loaded onto an ambulance Thursday at Convention and Laurel. - Photo by Steven Mross of The Sentinel-Record

3 P.M. UPDATE

At least one person has died in the Thursday night shooting outside a Hot Springs High School graduation ceremony.

Michael Jordan, 39, of Hot Springs died at a local hospital. Three other victims were transported to local hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening. 

Hot Springs police arrested Charles Johnson, 25, who faces one count of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree battery, police said.

Authorities said "a large fight broke out" in a parking lot across the street from the convention center, where the high school held its graduation ceremony. During the fight, Hot Springs police officers and Garland County sheriff's deputies tried to break up the fight when someone began shooting into the crowd. Hot Springs police officers returned fire on the suspected shooter, whom they later identified as Johnson. He was wounded, but fled the area, police said. Later, police arrested Johnson at a local hospital while he was undergoing treatment for his wounds.

The Arkansas State Police is investigating the officers’ involvement in the shooting, police said. The officers are on administrative leave with pay until the investigation concludes, which is standard procedure. 

7 A.M. UPDATE

Hot Springs School District Superintendent Stephanie Nehus issued a statement Friday morning that school officials were "heartbroken" over Thursday night's shooting outside the Hot Springs Convention Center following the Hot Springs World Class High School graduation.

"We are heartbroken that these violent events took place following such a beautiful celebration for our graduates and their families," Nehus said in the statement.

"Our Law Enforcement Officers and staff will continue to do all that we can to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies/officials to complete an investigation."

Nehus said school counselors and staff will be working with students today at school "who witnessed events or have concerns/fears. Our hearts and thoughts continue to be with the individuals and families who suffered injuries.”

——————————-

A chaotic scene erupted just outside the Hot Springs Convention Center Thursday night, shortly after the conclusion of Hot Springs World Class High School’s graduation, when four people were injured by gunfire following a "big fight" in a nearby parking lot, city and county law enforcement officials said.

“After the conclusion of the Hot Springs High School graduation, a big fight broke loose outside the convention center here behind us that ultimately resulted in some gunfire," HSPD Officer 1st Class Omar Cervantes said during a brief news conference near the shooting scene Thursday night.

"Unfortunately we had multiple victims who are all being treated right now at local hospitals. Obviously, it’s a big case so we have a lot of guys working this right now. It is an ongoing investigation so as of right now the only information I have for you.”

Cervantes, questioned about whether any of the incident occurred inside the convention center, which was full of students, their families, and school officials, said, "Everything happened outside. I have no idea at this time what started it. We have officers in the building to make sure everything’s OK and there’s not a shooter in the building."

He said no arrests had been made and no weapons had been found that he knew of.

Video not playing? Click here https://www.youtube.com/embed/A_pU_TAaFrA

The school district’s communications director, Adrianne Barnes, said the shooting occurred between 9 and 9:15 p.m., apparently because of a fight between two individuals. She said according to current information available, at least one person, who may have been a bystander, had been hit by the gunfire.

The four victims, who were not identified, were transported to both CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs and National Park Medical Center, Garland County Under Sheriff Jason Lawrence said.

Lawrence said they sent officers to both hospitals to lock them down cause they had victims going to both; reportedly large groups of people were present at both hospitals.

The shooting occurred in the street and the parking lot area in front of the Embassy Suites, Hot Springs police said.

Hot Springs Superintendent Stephanie Nehus said in a statement just before 10 p.m. that no graduates were involved in the shooting.

“We are still learning more details about the unfortunate situation that took place outside of the Hot Springs Convention Center, following our Graduation Ceremony. We can confirm that none of our current students or graduates were involved. Our Law Enforcement Officers and staff will do all that we can to assist in the investigation. Our hearts and thoughts are with all individuals who suffered injuries tonight.”

Barnes said that based on what she understood from the district law enforcement officers who were there, the shots came from the opposite side of the street on Convention Boulevard after two men had gotten into a fight.


Previous updates:

—————————

10:50 P.M. UPDATE

This video, taken by staff writer Steven Mross, shows the large law enforcement presence outside the Hot Springs Convention Center after a shooting Thursday night.

Video not playing? Click here https://www.youtube.com/embed/EirRiUs_AW4

10:23 P.M. UPDATE

Hot Springs School District Superintendent Stephanie Nehus has issued a statement that no graduates were involved in the shooting.

“We are still learning more details about the unfortunate situation that took place outside of the Hot Springs Convention Center, following our Graduation Ceremony. We can confirm that none of our current students or graduates were involved. Our Law Enforcement Officers and staff will do all that we can to assist in the investigation. Our hearts and thoughts are with all individuals who suffered injuries tonight," Nehus said.

ORIGINAL POST

Four people were injured in a shooting at Convention Boulevard and Laurel Street outside the Hot Springs Convention Center Thursday night, where the Hot Springs World Class High School graduation was taking place, according to spokesmen for Hot Springs police and the Garland County Sheriff's Office.

The victims were transported to both CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs and National Park Medical Center, Under Sheriff Jason Lawrence said.

Lawrence said they sent officers to both hospitals to lock them down cause they had victims going to both; reportedly large groups of people were present at both hospitals.

The shooting occurred in the street and the parking lot area in front of the Embassy Suites, police said.

Video not playing? Click here https://www.youtube.com/embed/aZVIUqcmadk

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT