August 14, 2008

Democratic Party Chairman Murdered in Arkansas

The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, Bill Gwatney, was gunned down at party headquarters in Little Rock, AR yesterday. The gunman in this case was Timothy Johnson. Johnson was a resident of Searcy, Arkansas who had been fired from his job at a local Target store for writing graffiti on a wall at his place of employment shortly before he showed up at Democratic Party headquarters. In a scene reminiscent of Martin Scorcese's Taxi Driver, Johnson told a campaign staffer that he wanted to volunteer, then shot Gwatney several times. Johnson then fled the scene and was eventually shot by the police, who are now looking for a motive in the shooting.

Arkansas Police Seek Motive for Killing of Democratic Official
By Ryan Flinn

Police are searching for a motive after a gunman burst into the Arkansas Democratic Party headquarters in Little Rock and killed Chairman Bill Gwatney.

The man shot the former state senator several times in the upper body yesterday, before fleeing in his vehicle and leading officers on a 30-mile (48-kilometer) chase, said Lieutenant Terry Hastings of the Little Rock Police Department.

The suspect was killed in a shoot-out with police and his victim died later in the hospital, Hastings said. Police are investigating whether the shooter had any connection to Gwatney, he added...

Police identified the suspect as 50-year-old Timothy Johnson of Searcy, a town about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock, the Associated Press reported. He was fired that morning from a local Target store for writing graffiti on a wall, the news agency said.

Moments after shooting Gwatney, he pointed a handgun at a worker at the nearby Arkansas Baptist headquarters and said "I lost my job," AP reported, citing a church official...
Does this sound a little familiar? Is Gwatney the latest casualty of the New and Improved Culture War, now with a body count? Could Johnson have been inspired by prior right-wing extremist foot soldier James Adkisson's shooting of several people in Tennessee recently?

Details about Johnson haven't been released yet, but I suspect there will be a philosophical connection between Johnson and Adkisson. Little Rock police spokesman, lieutenant Terry Hastings, has told the press that there was no known previous connection between Johnson and Gwatney. Perhaps Johnson will have also written some sort of manifesto, as in the Adkisson case, that will reveal his motive for the shooting. It will be interesting to find out what he wrote on the wall at Target and whether there was any connection between that and the shooting. Perhaps we'll be finding out more about Johnson soon.

My money is on him being an Ann Coulter/Rush Limbaugh/Michael Savage fan, maybe a Freeper.

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