Shooting

Hot Springs Police have charged one man with murder following a fight Thursday night following Hot Spring High School’s graduation ceremony at the city’s Convention Center.

A police statement said that a large fight broke out in an adjacent parking lot across from 400 Convention Boulevard. During the fight, HSPD officers and Garland County deputies were on scene attempting to defuse the situation when a single gunman began shooting into the crowd.

Hot Springs officers returned fire and shot the suspect, later identified as Charles Johnson, 25. Although wounded, Johnson was initially able to flee the scene.

Four other persons were shot. Michael Jordan, 39, of Hot Springs was transported to a local hospital and died from his wounds. The other three victims were transported to local hospitals with survivable injuries.

Johnson was located and arrested at a local hospital while being treated for his wounds. He was charged with one count of first-degree murder, and three counts of first-degree battery.

Since Hot Springs officers were involved, the shooting investigation will be handled by the Arkansas State Police. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave with pay until the conclusion of the investigation.

Thousands of people had begun to leave the Hot Springs Convention Center when the fight began and gunshots rang out.

Hot Springs Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Nehus said in a statement that no students were injured or involved in the gunfire.

“We are heartbroken that these violent events took place following such a beautiful celebration for our graduates and their families. Our law enforcement officers and staff will continue to do all that we can to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies/officials to complete an investigation,” she said.

Counselors and staff worked with students at school on Friday who witnessed events or have concerns or fears.

“Our hearts and thoughts continue to be with the individuals and families who suffered injuries,” Nehus said.

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