PINE BLUFF, Ark — Scrolling on his phone for pictures, Terry Johnson Sr. said seeing photos of he and his son still doesn't feel real. He can't believe the boy who carries his namesake is now gone.
"I don't think this is really setting in yet," said Johnson.
He said learning that his 18-year old son, Terry Johnson Jr., was shot and killed doesn't feel right. He hasn't even thought about visiting a funeral home to arrange anything.
Pine Bluff police said it was Saturday after 7:00 p.m. when officers responded to a report of a shooting inside Regional Park. Three people were shot, including an 11-year-old child.
Johnson Jr. was the only one who was killed.
Police say there was a family gathering in the park when there was a disagreement over money. That disagreement led to a physical altercation when shots started being fired.
Johnson Sr. said his son was invited by a friend at the park for a family event when the altercation between other people happened.
"He's the one that gets his life taken. It's hard for me. I'm angry. I'm talking about seriously, I'm angry. I'm beyond angry. Pine Bluff is out of control right now with this violence. It's completely out of control. You know, and you talking to a parent that's like totally pissed off," Johnson said.
Samuel Glover is the director of Pine Bluff Parks & Recreation and he said any time there's 20 to 25 people wanting to host an event in the park, they have to get city approval.
"This was an unauthorized social gathering that took place on the backside of Regional Park, and unfortunately it resulted in a tragedy," said Glover.
He said the department would have provided police or security if those who gathered had gone through the right channels.
"Had they followed the proper protocol and we knew they were even in that part of the park and filled out the paper work, I think things would have ended differently," said Glover.
Pine Bluff Police Chief Lloyd Franklin said that the incident is an ongoing investigation and they're currently interviewing witnesses. He wants the city to understand the department does take these incidents seriously.
"It's an ongoing investigation. There's so many moving parts involved in this incident," said Franklin, "It's an isolated incident, and our detectives and are interviewing witnesses, victims and even a suspect."
The police said 20-year-old Clifton Westmoreland has been arrested on three counts of 1st Degree Battery.
Terry Johnson Sr. remembered his son as a goofy but laid back kid. The 18-year-old was getting ready to go to barber school. This time next week he would have been turning 19. Terry Jr. was a homebody and worked hard at his job.
"He wasn't thugging or none of that. I wasn't allowing any of that. I know a lot of people say that when they lose a loved one, but I'm serious," said Johnson.
Johnson Sr. said he spent some time in prison, but he was always in his son's life.
When he got out, he purposely shaped and molded Terry Jr. to not follow in his same footsteps.
To have his son shot and killed in this type of incident that had nothing to do with him doesn't feel fair.
The shootings come ahead of Forward Fest, an event happening in Pine Bluff this weekend which has had some people voice concern for safety on social media.
Glover said the city has never had a problem at Forward Fest and he doesn't anticipate having any issues this year.
"We feel very confident in our security protocol. People cannot drive into the festival. You have to park, then you'll have to submit to a search, go through metal detectors and then you'll go on a charter bus to be taken to the location," said Glover.
He said there's also a clear bag policy. Over 30 law enforcement officers will be on scene.
Chief Franklin added that drug sniffing dogs will be utilized and undercover officers will be in the crowds.
They are asking anyone with information to contact the Detective Division at 870-730-2096 or Dispatch at 870-541-5300.