Bill Gwatney, the chair of the Democratic Party in Arkansas, was shot dead in his office today by a lone gunman.
Chairman Bill Gwatney died at 3:59 Wednesday afternoon after a gunman entered his Little Rock office and shot him several times in the upper body, Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings said.
Authorities confirmed the news shortly after former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton released a statement expressing their condolences.
"We are deeply saddened by the news that Bill Gwatney has passed away," the former governor and first lady of Arkansas said. "His leadership and commitment to Arkansas and this country have always inspired us and those who had the opportunity to know him."
The shooting suspect, a white male in his fifties, also died Wednesday afternoon after a police chase ended in gunfire, Hastings said.
Authorities are working to confirm his identity, but Hastings said there was no indication that he was a former employee. He said police were investigating possible motives, as well as why the suspect went into the Arkansas Baptist State Convention brandishing a gun.
CNN affilliates KARK and KTHV identified the gunman as Timothy Dale Johnson, 50, of Searcy, Arkansas.
My sincere condolences to Bill Gwatney's friends and family in their time of loss. A statement from the DNC is here. Rest in peace, Bill Gwatney.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 13, 2008 to National news