Little Rock shooting victim, a MEMS dispatcher, dies from injuries Wednesday

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A woman shot by her estranged husband in Little Rock on Saturday died Wednesday, according to police. 

Cassandra Peña-Romero, 27, of North Little Rock was shot on Saturday after heading to her car after work in the parking lot of MEMS Station One, located at 1121 W 7th St., a Little Rock police report said. 

She was found beside her vehicle bleeding from a gunshot wound to the neck after MEMS supervisors were said to have received an SOS text from Peña-Romero. Other dispatchers were then sent to look for her, the report said.

Peña-Romero, who began her career as a dispatcher with MEMS in July 2021, was transported to UAMS with life-threatening injuries after being shot around 5:30 p.m. 

According to a news release, “Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) Dispatcher Cassandra Peña-Romero succumbed to her injuries today sustained from gun violence on Saturday, August 19." Mark Edwards, a spokesman for the Little Rock Police Department, confirmed that she died Wednesday. 

Omar Peña-Romero, 23, of North Little Rock, the husband of Cassandra Peña-Romero, was arrested in Texarkana in connection with the Little Rock shooting around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, while Cassandra was still in critical condition. 

Officers were told that Omar Peña-Romero – a former MEMS employee who was terminated earlier this month – and Cassandra were separated and in the process of getting divorced, the police report said. 

Little Rock police officers were also told that Omar Peña-Romero had recently been arrested by the Maumelle Police Department in connection with raping Cassandra Peña-Romero, the report said. Omar Peña-Romero was jailed and charged with domestic battery of the first degree, violation of a no-contact order and unauthorized use of another person's property to facilitate certain crimes.

Edwards said Wednesday afternoon that Omar Peña-Romero's charges had been updated to Capital Murder.

Omar Peña-Romero was still shown on an online Pulaski County inmate roster with no bond set for his charges in Little Rock, as of early Wednesday afternoon. 

“Dispatchers are the first step of the life-saving work of emergency services, and Cassandra was a true community hero,” said Greg Thompson, executive director of MEMS, according to the release, “We appreciate the care she received at UAMS and the valiant efforts of our law enforcement partners to quickly apprehend the suspect of this heinous act. We mourn the loss of Cassandra and our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and colleagues. As an organ donor, Cassandra continues her life-saving legacy.”

MEMS will have mental health professionals available for employees, the release said.