August 13, 2008
RIP, Bill Gwatney

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.

We don't know a lot about this crime right now. We don't know why Timothy Dale Johnson did what he did - we may never know, now that he too is dead. I hope this was nothing more than an isolated case of an unbalanced person doing something horrible and tragic for reasons only he understood. That would be more than bad enough. But given the times and the context, the possibility exists, for now at least, that there was more to this, and if so that would make this much worse. I really hope that's not the case.

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

Bill Gwatney was a brave and honorable man. As a Democratic Superdelegate he stood up for Senator Clinton. I'll bet (but few know if) he was one of the Delegates who had the courage to sign the 300 Petition. It is time for all good Americans to stand up for Bill and what he stood for. Find out. Get involved.

Posted by: LuMoore on August 14, 2008 8:19 AM

well, if they find books from Rush, Hannity and/or Coulter in his house we'll have a pretty good idea of why he did it.

Posted by: mark on August 14, 2008 9:01 AM

Bill Gwatney was a personal friend. I grew up with him, as a child, in Arkansas. He was always an individual to be counted on. I am personally saddened by his is so senseless.

Posted by: Greg on August 15, 2008 2:05 PM

Add another to the list of Clinton associates who die under awfully mysterious circumstances. Who is Timothy Dale Johnson? Is he ex-military? I am guessing so.

Posted by: Paul Gorman on August 20, 2008 8:53 PM
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