2 dead following weekend shooting in Independence Co.

Akeem Lewis (Source: Independence County Jail)
Akeem Lewis (Source: Independence County Jail)
Omar Scales (Courtesy: Ray Scales)
Omar Scales (Courtesy: Ray Scales)
Omar Scales (Courtesy: Sheila Avant)
Omar Scales (Courtesy: Sheila Avant)

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – A Woodruff County man faces two counts of second degree murder after two men died over the weekend from gunshot wounds.

Akeem Lewis, 23, of Cotton Plant has been arrested and charged in the double murder.

According to the Independence County Sheriff's Department, officers responded to a shooting at 295 Dry Run Circle near Batesville around 8:00 Saturday night. Sheriff Steve Jeffery says when officers arrived, they found two men suffering from gunshot wounds.

Omar Scales, 25, was found inside a vehicle near the home with a gunshot wound to the left side of the abdomen. Inside the home, officers found John L. Weeams, 47, with a gunshot wound to the chest. Officers say a gun was also found beside Weeams on the couch.

Both men were taken to the White River Medical Center for treatment. Scales and Weeams later died at the hospital.

"This is a bad thing that happened," said Sheila Avant, who is Omar Scales' aunt. "It happened one particular day in his life, but we have 25 years worth of memories to keep us strong, keep remembering him. As long as we can remember Omar, he'll never be dead."

Avant says her nephew always wore a smile on his face and never treated anyone disrespectfully. She says he also leaves behind two young children. The family is now trying to find a bright spot in this dark situation.

"It is a tragedy," Avant said, "but if something good can come out of this and this neighborhood pulling together and sticking together and not allowing this kind of thing to go on anymore, it will be a positive thing – something positive coming out of something negative."

Avant says she'd like to start a neighborhood watch program in the area where the shooting occurred. She grew up near there and hopes to make neighbors feel safe again.

"It's time to take back this neighborhood," she said. "It's way past time, but it took something like this to happen to get people really motivated to do so."

Lewis was developed as a suspect and taken into custody shortly after the shooting, according to Sheriff Jeffery.

Investigators have yet to determine a motive, but say the shooting apparently occurred after an argument at the home.

A judge set Lewis' bond at $250,000.

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