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Hot Springs community reacts after shooting leaves one dead, three injured after graduation

Police arrested 25-year-old Charles Johnson, who's being charged with first degree murder and three counts of first degree battery.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Thursday night went from celebration to chaos, all in a matter of minutes. The scary incident happened after a Hot Springs graduation, taking place in a parking lot across from the Bank OKZ Arena.

There's been a lot of fall out since the time of the shooting, which is being investigated as an officer-involved shooting.

A night dedicated to congratulating student's achievements, within minutes, turned violent.

"We were here to celebrate my sister's fiancé's youngest siblings," Amber and Megan, two sisters that attended the graduation said. "I could hear fighting going on and I saw 20 plus people standing in the parking lot."

Police said after the ceremony concluded, in a parking lot adjacent to the arena, they were trying to break up a large fight.

Megan and Amber were just feet away and heard gunshots.

"All I could think about in [the] moment-- try not to panic but also get my sister and me as far away as possible," Megan and Amber said. 

The two ran back inside the arena to find family and get to a safe place.

"[We] just kept running up the stairs trying to get as far away from the doors as possible," the sisters said.

Authorities said 25-year-old Charles Johnson began shooting in the crowd, with officers returning fire.

While Johnson was hit, it's not clear how many officers shot him. He was then arrested at a nearby hospital.

Following the tragic night, police confirmed that 4 people were shot, with one of the victims-- 39-year-old Michael Jordan-- dying as a result.

Authorities said the other three victims are expected to be okay.

"[I] was kind of thinking why at a graduation? Like what prompted or caused this to go on at a graduation for kids," Megan and Amber said.

That's a question that many in the community are asking.

For Megan and Amber, they said they can't stop thinking about the victims and the people who witnessed this.

"My thoughts go out to those families like us that were celebrating and then all of a sudden, having to be running for our lives in fear of not knowing what's going on," Amber and Megan said. "It's a nightmare that no parent should have to go through."

Hot Springs police said the officers who fired back at Johnson are on paid administrative leave.

The officer-involved shooting is being investigated by the Arkansas State Police.


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