LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - While investigators offer money, local pastors offer warnings, both to Acen King’s killer and to people who might think they had nothing to do his death.
Pastor Terrance Long and a group of ministers demanded Monday evening that the gunman turn himself in, and that anyone with information that could solve King’s homicide speak up.
“If you don’t say nothing, you’re just as guilty as the person that did it,” Long explained.
King, 3, was shot and killed Saturday evening while riding in his grandmother’s car. The shooting took place at the intersection of Mablevale Cutoff and Warren Drive, but the grandmother did not discover that King had been shot until they arrived at J.C. Penney on South Shackleford Road, 10 miles away.
The Little Rock Police Department is describing the shooting as an act of road rage. The gunman honked at King’s grandmother while they were both stopped at the intersection. She honked back, and he got out of his car and shot at hers. He is described as a tall, black man, and detectives believe he was driving a 2003, black Chevrolet Impala.
“If you’ve seen this black Impala in your neighborhood, at a neighbor’s house, let someone know,” Long implored. He is convinced that someone did see that Impala on Saturday. The two vehicles were leaving the Yorkwood neighborhood in southwest Little Rock at the time of the shooting. Yorkwood is a place Long says people do not just pass through.
“In order for this guy to be coming out of this neighborhood, he had to know someone in the neighborhood,” Long explained. “He had to be visiting someone in the neighborhood, and we need to know who that was. And we got calls out, and we got people on the street looking to find out. Because whoever he was visiting in that neighborhood, they have some answers.”
King’s is one of several recent homicide cases that Little Rock detectives are still trying to solve. Long and the pastors who sat beside him at The Mercy Church believe community policing would help officers make more arrests.
“If you know the community, [neighbors] will confide in you and let you know how to get the answers that we need,” he claimed.
He also had a bigger message about the effort it will take to prevent people from committing the violence that’s plaguing the city.
“If you recognize individuals that may be going in the wrong direction, let somebody know,” he said. “Let the local churches know so we can bind with you and try to bring a change.”
But Long said his immediate goal is to give the King family a moment of rest, which will only come when people are willing to speak about the things they have seen or the things they have done.
“And I will walk you to the police station, walk in with you, and make sure you are unharmed,” he promised King’s killer. “And anybody that gives us any information, we will make sure that it remains confidential. But we have to find the killers to these senseless murders.”
With a Christmas tableau behind him, Long mentioned the sadness that comes from thinking that the King family has presents under their tree for Acen, which they will now have to either give away or return. Their young boy, however, will never return to them.
“Today it’s the King family. Tomorrow, it may be my family,” he said.
Long is planning a candlelight vigil in King’s memory Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. It will be held at the corner of Mablevale Cutoff and Warren Drive, the spot where King was shot, and near the silent residents Long hopes will finally talk.