by Max Brantley
Authorities are looking for this man, Gordon Randall Gwathney, in multiple slayings today near Palestine in Lee County. He's the estranged husband of a woman whose grandparents and parent were killed. Two other people were wounded. The State Police news release is on the jump.
UPDATE: He was arrested about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in a fast food restaurant in Laredo, Texas and did not resist. He had a handgun, but the State Police didn't mention the assault weapon said to have been used in the shootings. His vehicle was impounded in Laredo, but it's uncertain when it will be searched.
STATE POLICE REPORT
Three Lee County residents were killed and two other individuals were wounded at a residence south of Palestine during the pre-dawn hours earlier today.
Law enforcement agencies across the country have been alerted to be on the lookout for Gordon Randall Gwathney, 46, of Marianna. Arkansas State Police and Lee County sheriff’s deputies are in the process of seeking warrants for the arrest of Gwathney in connection with the murders.
Gwathney is described as a white male, standing approximately 5-foot 10 inches tall, weighing between 230 – 250 pounds, with green eyes (known to wear glasses), reddish blond hair and believed to be driving a sandstone colored 2000 Nissan pick-up truck displaying Arkansas license plate 584 EFI.
It is believed that Gwathney entered a residence at 8291 Highway 261 where his estranged wife, Lisa Reeves, 35, was living with her mother. A confrontation between Gwathney and Reeves developed leading to the shooting of three people inside the home and Reeves escaping through a window. The dead are identified as James O. Mitchell, 81, his wife, Evelyn Mitchell, 79, both grandparents of Reeves and Sylvia E. Reeves, 51, the mother of Lisa Reeves, all residents at the home where the shooting occurred.
A brother of Lisa Reeve, Travis Reeves, who lives nearby was alerted to the shooting and confronted Gwathney. A gunfight erupted outside the two homes and Travis Reeves was wounded. His condition is unknown and he is being treated at a Memphis hospital.
St. Francis County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Jackson who had been dispatched to the shooting arrived at the scene and was also wounded by gunfire from Gwathney who then fled the area. Deputy Jackson was treated for his wounds and released from a Forrest City hospital.
The investigation into the murders and assaults is being conducted by the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division and the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.
Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Gwathney is asked to contact their nearest law enforcement agency. Gwathney should be considered armed and dangerous.