Little Rock police were questioning a person of interest Saturday night as part of the investigation into the killing of a young girl in War Memorial Park earlier in the day.
Hours after the shooting, police had still provided scant information on the crime in a high-traffic part of the city.
Police did not release any information about the person of interest, with police spokesman Mark Edwards declining to provide even the person’s sex and saying he had no other information to give in the developing case. No charges had been filed yet, he said.
Police spoke with the victim at an area hospital after she was shot somewhere in the 700 block of Fair Park Boulevard, between War Memorial Park and the Little Rock Zoo, Edwards said. Almost no identifying information about the victim has been released — including the victim's age.
An employee at the Pulaski County coroner’s office told KLRT Fox 16 that the victim was a 7-year-old girl, but when contacted Saturday afternoon to confirm the identification, an employee at the office said he could not release any information in the killing.
Edwards would not confirm that age, saying the coroner had not provided it to him.
“We haven’t gotten that yet,” Edwards said.
Police also were slow to release the location of the shooting, with an exact location provided about 8:30 p.m., as late as nine hours after the killing.
An entry on the city’s online dispatch log listed a report of a shooting that had just occurred at the address of Arkansas Children’s Hospital just before 11:30 a.m., though it was not immediately clear whether that was the same incident.
Edwards said the delay in releasing information had to do with making sure any details released have been carefully vetted and confirmed.
Late Saturday, Edwards confirmed that the girl was in a vehicle when she was struck, and was taken to the hospital in the same vehicle, but he could not provide any information about the nature of the shooting.
“Now that, we don’t have,” Edwards said.
The address is in War Memorial Park and near the Little Rock Zoo and the Jim Dailey Fitness & Aquatic Center, which are all run by the city. The aquatic center’s outdoor pool was open for the first day of the year Saturday with a $1 entry fee promotion from noon-4 p.m., according to the center’s Facebook page.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Friday, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. tweeted about the shooting:
Scott’s opponent in the November mayoral election, Steve Landers, was set to hold a campaign event at War Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon. Landers has frequently criticized Scott’s handling of crime in the city.
On Saturday evening, a post on Landers’ campaign Facebook page called for citizens to join him in praying for the family of the slain child, but did not mention the city’s police response.
It was initially unclear whether the shooting had happened in City Director Virgil Miller’s Ward 1 or Kathy Webb’s Ward 3, but the address given by Edwards hours after the shooting is in Ward 3.
Before the address was given, Miller said he had not heard anything about the killing until he turned on the news Saturday evening, and that no one from the city had kept him up to date.
“In any ward, a 7-year-old child [killed], that’s disturbing,” Miller said.
Multiple calls to Webb had not been returned as of 9 p.m. Saturday.
1:18 p.m.: Saturday shooting in Little Rock kills 1
One person was killed in a shooting Saturday south of War Memorial Park in Little Rock, according to a tweet from the department.
The victim, about whom no info has been released, was brought to an area hospital after being shot somewhere in the vicinity of Interstate 630 and Fair Park Boulevard, Little Rock police spokesman Mark Edwards said.
The investigation into the killing was ongoing Saturday afternoon.