Hero armed with rifle takes down would-be mass shooter at apartment complex

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FORT SMITH, AR – Authorities say a 26-year-old gunman was firing at residents at an apartment complex earlier in May, fatally wounding an 87-year-old woman during the spate of gunfire.

However, it was reportedly thanks to another resident that also had a firearm that this alleged gunman was taken down.

According to reports, the incident at the apartment complex occurred on May 15th at approximately 7:23 a.m. at an apartment complex located within the 3500 block of S. 74th Street in Fort Smith. Authorities say that 26-year-old Zachary Arnold was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and was shooting at neighboring apartments.

One resident at the complex and witness to the incident, Janey Peugh, stated that Arnold was trying to lure potential victims out of their apartments during the gunfire:

“He was yelling and screaming, ‘You guys get out here, come out here, everyone get out of this building right now.’”

While Arnold was reportedly yelling, witnesses say that 87-year-old Lois Hicks and another resident went outside to calm Arnold down. But apparently, once Hicks and the other resident saw the weapon in Arnold’s hands, they both decided to rush back into their apartment.

According to witness Amber Lane, Hicks did not close her door when she ran back in the apartment, which Arnold reportedly followed her inside the apartment and shot her:

“There were two older women, both had come out. One of them had ran back in, and the other one ran back in, but she didn’t close her door, then he walked in and did what he did.”

Tenants at the apartment complex were taking cover inside of their homes while the suspect allegedly continued shooting into several apartment units. But one man had apparently retrieved a rifle of his own, and fatally shot Arnold.

Amber Lane is among those appreciative of this armed citizen’s initiative:

“If he didn’t do that, who knows how much worse it could have gotten.”

Dixie property management, the entity that oversees the apartment complex where the incident occurred, released the following statement on the matter:

“We are terribly saddened by the incident which happened this morning. We are working diligently with the police in any way we can. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families today.”

Ron Gatling, a friend, and neighbor of the now-deceased Hicks, says that she’s going to miss her friend:

“She was like an angel. She was a real sweet lady…She’s going to be missed.”

Police have not detailed any possible motives for the suspect. However, an obituary for Arnold listed on Legacy.com noted that the suspect “was an Army Veteran who served in Afghanistan.”

Authorities have not identified the armed citizen that reportedly shot Arnold.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this developing case. 

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In other shooting incidents, authorities in New York City were trying to track down the gunman responsible for a shooting in Times Square earlier in May. 

In an update to our original story, authorities reportedly arrested the Times Square shooting suspect in Jacksonville, Florida on May 12th. 

Officials identified the suspect in the May 8th shooting in New York City as 31-year-old Farrakhan Muhammad.

Police reportedly found Muhammad eating inside his car at a McDonald’s parking lot on May 12th, which he was reportedly travelling with his girlfriend, identified as Kristine Vergara.

Vergara was also arrested for allegedly admitting to police that she brought Muhammad to Florida after having already known about the Times Square shooting. 

Here’s the previous report detailing the background of the Times Square shooting on May 8th. 

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – According to reports, two women and a 4-year-old girl were non-fatally shot in Times Square on May 8th, with police officials searching for a noted person of interest who fled the scene of the shooting.

NYPD officials say that witnesses observed roughly two to four males get into some sort of an altercation near 44th Street and Seventh Avenue in Midtown Manhattan at approximately 5:00 p.m. on May 8th.

During this dispute, at least one of the males had produced a firearm and wound up shooting a 4-year-old girl who was shopping with her family, a 23-year-old female tourist from Rhode Island and a 46-year-old woman from New Jersey.

The 46-year-old woman was shot in the foot whereas the child and 23-year-old woman were both shot in the leg, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

Reportedly none of the victims injured were involved in the altercation where the firearm was produced, nor were they at all familiar with each other or the men involved in the dispute leading up to the shooting.

Authorities say that the victims were all transported to Bellevue Hospital following the incident and are expected to survive their injuries.

The NYPD released a brief video of an at-large person of interest wanted in connection with the incident.

Investigators recovered three shell casings from the scene, which authorities say were fired from a .25 caliber firearm.

The 23-year-old woman from Rhode Island, later identified as Wendy Magrinat, who was shot in the leg spoke with NBC New York following the incident, saying she was visiting the area for Mother’s Day.

Speaking to the outlet, Magrinat stated the following:

“It was a pretty traumatic experience, not only for me, but for my entire family.”

“Thank God it didn’t break my bone, or anything like that, but it did go inside and it’s where my muscles are right now and the doctors said they wouldn’t do any surgery or take out the bullet – because it would do more damage.”

Magrinat said that the shooting happened while she and her family were standing in line at the BT21 store, with her and her husband reportedly hearing the altercation that led up to the shooting:

“All of the sudden I heard someone call – in a bad tone – someone else. And I told my husband ‘You know, let’s just move a little bit forward,’ because he had my 2-year-old in his hands. At the same moment I told him that, the shots were fired and the first shot went to my leg.”

“I walked a little bit, then I started screaming…asking for help, it was really scary. It was a scary moment.”

This is a developing story.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into the investigation.

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