Murder Suspect Returns to Arkansas - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Lee County, AR

Murder Suspect Returns to Arkansas

February 16, 2006 - Posted at 9:42 p.m. CST

Lee County, AR_Resident's in Lee County are still in shock after triple murder earlier this week. The suspect in that case, Gordon Randall Gwathney, is back in Arkansas tonight.

Gwathney was arrested in Texas after Tuesday's deadly shooting spree in which he killed three of his in-laws and wounded two other victims, including a Sheriff's deputy. He's being processed at the Lee County court and awaiting his first trial date.

Lee County Sheriff Jack Oxner says the community is still reeling from what happened earlier this week. As Oxner raced to the deadly scene near Palestine, he knew a number of people had already been shot including a deputy... and nobody knew where the shooter was.

"And we were getting numerous stories. he was in the woods, he was shooting at people driving down the road", said Oxner.

Oxner admits it was scary - but he and the other officers did what they had to... approaching the reeves house... not knowing what they'd find inside. "We saw some victims on the floor, we went to the back door, back door was open. and we went inside to search. Room by room", said Oxner.

Authorities say the shooter was Randy Gwathney... who went to the house early Tuesday morning to confront his estranged wife, and shot to death her mother and grandparents... then went next door and shot her brother and a responding deputy's car. Both were injured, but survived. It was a killing spree which oxner says shocked everyone in this tiny community. "It's a shock. It's a shock. We're a small knit community, everyone knows everyone and lot of people are related", said Oxner. And they'll be watching closely as Gwathney returns to arkansas to face justice.

Gwathney was arrested in Laredo, texas over 12 hours after the shootings. Police there captured him in front of a McDonald's, and though he was still armed at the time he did resist the arrest. So far a trail date has not been set.

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