Residents, officials respond to recent Little Rock violence

    7:50 PM, Jan 4, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- After a record setting year of homicides in Little Rock, the city has already recorded its first two of the new year. Following three shootings last night, two fatal, many residents say they're feeling more on edge and concerned about their surroundings.

    In about a 30 day span, Little Rock has seen eight homicides. But in that span, police also investigated several shootings and robberies. Now, the recent violence has many residents wondering how safe their city really is and what steps should be taken to keep them safe.

    A record 35 homicides in 2011, up from 28 in 2010. Three days into 2012, Little Rock records its first two homicides of the year.

    "Very disturbed and very hurt. And just heartbroken to see the city go down in shambles like this," says Reverend Benny Johnson, founder of Stop the Violence.

    It's a trend he finds very disturbing.

    "We can just talk things out. That's what we used to do in the old day. Back in the old people used to fight it out and shake it out and be friends. But in this day, you got a lot of vindictive people. And they [are going to] come back and, you know, retaliation."

    "Anytime we have a homicide, it's upsetting and shocking to us. We don't want any," says Lt. Terry Hastings with Little Rock police.

    Hastings says there's often a relationship between suspects and victims.

    "Whether it be drugs, whether it be domestic. Whatever it might be. They're not random acts," adds Hastings.

    The shooting just off Green mountain drive shocked some residents and business owners in the area. They say they feel safe during the day but they might be a little more worried now at night."

    "It's getting a little scary. I don't wanna get out at night," Pam Cousins says.

    The shooting at Pleasant Pointe Apartments surprised Cousins.

    "This is not an area where I'm afraid of anything. It's very, to me, it's a very safe area. It always has been. And I just think it's the apartments."

    Tony Mills says he's only recently seen violence rise.

    "Just in the last 3 or 4 years it's kind of picked up some. During the day time it's real calm around here. But sometimes at night we do hear things like that unfortunately," Mills says.

    But for those involved in the Stop the Violence movement -- it's time for a change.

    "I'm just sick and tired. People are just sick and tired. And we just want to bring some kind of end to this madness that's going on in our city."

    One resident told Today's THV off camera, "Hurt people hurt people. Healthy people don't hurt people."

    And when going door to door in the Green Mountain Plaza Shopping Center, many employees said they hadn't even heard about the shooting and seemed surprised it happened in that area.

    So far, police have made no arrests in any of last night's shootings.

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