NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- What police said started out as a domestic battery dispute, ended deadly for one man in North Little Rock Saturday evening.
Sunday the family of Rodney Austin is fighting for justice with the help of Arkansas Stop the Violence. Family members described Austin as a homebody that stayed to himself. He was shot several times while running to the aid and rescue of a relative. Police said the man who shot him is still at large.
"This family is mourning and they're heartbroken,” said Reverend Benny Johnson, founder of Arkansas Stop the Violence.
"We're not asking for anything but justice,” Andy Jackson said. Jackson is Austin’s cousin. "Rodney received a phone call from his girlfriend's daughter stating that her boyfriend was jumping on her,” he said.
44-year-old Austin then got in his car and went over to the home. When he got there police and family said he found the couple fighting. At some point the suspect left the house, got a weapon, and came back to shoot Austin.
"He did a sorry, senseless, cowardly act,” said Johnson.
Today, local anti-violence advocates rallied around the family.
"He needs to be off the street. I hope he can't rest. When gets up in the morning he can't rest and when he goes to bed he can't rest. I hope the spirit will convict him and he'll turn himself in,” Johnson added.
Austin's family gathered with Arkansas Stop the Violence at a home in Little Rock. They’re seeking justice, but also hope to inspire others through their pain.
"Black people get gunned down in the street almost on a daily basis now,” said Johnson.
"Little Rock just needs to come together and get rid of this mentality that we're going to let everyone take care of themselves,” Jackson said.
Johnson is frustrated. He doesn’t think police treat all homicides the same and that they turn a deaf ear to crime in the area.
"I've seen some homicides here where everything's been put on hold because a white person got killed,” he said.
For about an hour after the shooting, police feared the suspect may have been inside the house along with a one-year-old child. A SWAT team managed to get the baby out safely.
Arkansas Stop the Violence is joining police in asking anyone with information to come forward. Both Reverend Benny's group and North Little Rock Police have ways to leave anonymous tips.
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