by Max Brantley
An active criminal investigation continues today in connection with a homicide that occurred yesterday (Thursday, June 30, 2016) at a Heber Springs business identified as The Print Shop located along Arkansas Highway 25-B.
The investigation is being overseen by the Heber Springs Police Department with assistance from the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Department and Arkansas State Police.
At approximately 12:05 PM Thursday, the Heber Springs Police Department was notified of a shooting incident inside the business.
Charles Johnson, 65, and his wife, Candace Johnson, 62, both residents of Cleburne County, were found by Heber Springs police officers inside the business. The Johnsons had sustained gunshot wounds. Charles Johnson was later pronounced dead. Candace Johnson remains hospitalized today.
During the course of the initial phase of the investigation, David Wayne Hammonds, 58, also of Cleburne County, was identified as a potential suspect.
Throughout the afternoon on Thursday and into the evening hours, law enforcement agencies across the state were on the lookout for Hammonds.
At approximately 9:30 PM, a Swifton (Jackson County) police officer reported a suspected sighting of Hammonds. Minutes later the local officer reported he was behind a vehicle matching the description of one believed to be driven by Hammonds.
Local police and Jackson County sheriff’s deputies reported they were in pursuit of the late model Dodge flat-bed truck at 9:45 PM.
Along U.S. Highway 67 at approximately 10:05 PM, an Arkansas State Trooper became the primary lead in the pursuit which ended about one-mile north of Bald Knob at 10:08 PM when Hammonds lost control of the vehicle, wrecked, and was quickly taken into custody by the state trooper.
Hammonds was transported to the White County Jail and subsequently transferred to the Cleburne County Jail. Hammonds is being held for investigation of capital murder, battery in the first degree and commercial burglary.