An early morning shooting Sunday left a former Gurdon resident dead and another female injured; Arkadelphia police are on the search for the suspect, whom they identified as 21-year-old Jarvis Purifoy.
Killed in the incident was Jerome Caldwell, 25, of Crossett. Caldwell was originally from Gurdon.
According to Sgt. Roy Bethell, criminal investigator for the Arkadelphia Police Department, patrol units responded to Dino's restaurant Sunday at 2:05 a.m. after a report of shots being fired. When officers arrived, they found numerous broken beer bottles littering Main Street. They also observed numerous people — about 200 — fleeing the area of Seventh and Main streets.
According to Bethell, a group of people had rented Dino's for a private party, and evidence of alcohol was present.
Bethell said witnesses told police someone not affiliated with the party drove by and a fist fight ensued. The suspect, identified as Purifoy, reportedly shot five rounds toward the crowd, striking Caldwell, a bystander who was not involved in the altercation, Bethell said.
Caldwell, who was shot in the lower back, reportedly ran a short distance before collapsing, and a friend carried him to a vehicle and drove him to Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia, where Caldwell was later pronounced dead by Clark County Coroner Tim Welch.
A second victim, identified as Kaylona Gochen, arrived at the hospital's emergency room and said she had been shot in her left ear. Gochen told police that, as the crowd dispersed from the party, a male and female began to fight outside and someone "started shooting from a silver Mustang." Gochen was treated and had a small piece of metal shrapnel — reportedly from a glass frame at Dino's — lodged in her ear. She was later released.
Meanwhile, APD patrolmen responded to the area of 13th and Walnut streets for a vehicle accident involving a silver Mustang, reportedly driven by Purifoy. Bethell said the car struck a cable box, disabling the vehicle. No one was present at the accident scene when officers arrived.
At the cafe, investigators and officers found where at least four shots had been fired into the business (a total of five shots were reportedly fired, one of which struck Caldwell), striking the window and molding, as well as a Nissan Maxima parked at the scene. Bethell said shrapnel from the molding likely deflected and struck Gochen.
A report on file at APD indicates that officers took statements from at least 16 witnesses.
"It's tragic," Bethell said. "But it's fortunate that no one else was injured with the amount of people there."