A terrifying volley of bullets that left one person dead and 28 wounded—including kids as young as 19 months old—was sparked by two men who who “got in a gunfight” at a car show that was supposed to be a family-friendly event.
“There was no mass shooting intended on this,” Col. Bill Bryant of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety said during a Sunday press conference about the violence that erupted at the gathering in small-town Dumas.
Officials confirmed that Cameron Shaffer, 23, of Jacksonville, was killed, and that a suspect was in custody while police seek the second shooter. Bryant revealed that six children, ages 19 months to 11 years, were among those injured in the firefight.
Police were summoned just before 7 p.m. to the 16th Annual Hood-Nic event, a charity event raising funds for children in the local community.
Lakisa Slater, who lives in Dumas, told The Daily Beast she was sitting in her car when she heard the gunfire.
“All I see was bullets going everywhere, people running, people losing shoes and people falling all around me,” she said.
She said her 12-year-old daughter was caught up in the pandemonium.
“I see my baby and she took off running. She got ran over, got trampled.”
Slater said her daughter ended up with a bruised leg, but another girl who was knocked down in the exodus was gravely injured.
“She’s very traumatized,” she said. “It took me a while to calm her down.”
Slater said Dumas throws the event every year and it’s billed as a peaceful family picnic. “We’re a small country town. Everyone knows everyone else,” she said.
“But out of town people came in and destroyed it.”
“It’s just crazy,” she added. “I can’t even get my head around it. Why would you do this at an event where there are kids around?”
Video shared on social media that was said to have been taken at the scene of the shooting showed police and ambulances flooding the area as a man with an injury was helped by friends. Another video showed a crowd of attendees listening to music and chatting when a series of loud shots rang out, sending everyone scattering.
“My heart dropped. So many kids bleeding out and shot,” one man who posted video from the scene posted on Facebook.
The Hood-Nic Foundation, which hosted the event and works in the community to empower youth and expand educational programs, released a statement on Facebook expressing “shock at what took place during tonight’s car show.”
“Several people were shot by an unknown suspect. The full extent of injuries has not yet been disclosed. State Patrol is currently investigating the situation,” the organization wrote.
“The purpose of Hood-Nic has always been to bring the community together. This senseless violence needs to end.”