Purse-Snatching Turns Fatal on Wal-Mart Parking Lot

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - What started as a purse-snatching on a Wal-Mart parking lot ended with the death of a by-stander as the thief turned and fired shots before getting into the passenger side of a waiting car and speeding away.

Sergeant Terry Kuykendall, spokesman for the North Little Rock police, said 40-year-old Dean Worden of Jacksonville was killed in the shooting on the busy parking lot yesterday afternoon.

Kuykendall said witnesses told officers that a man approached a woman as she walked to her car from the Wal-Mart Supercenter and snatched her purse.  As the thief ran across the parking lot with the purse, he turned around and fired at least one shot, which hit Worden.  Some witnesses said they heard or three shots fired.

Police have made no arrests, but said Sunday night that they had recovered a car believed to have been the getaway vehicle.  Police would not say where the car was found.

A witness said she saw a man striking a woman in the face, then heard three shots fired as the man fled.  Police said the woman whose purse was stolen suffered minor injuries.

Andrea Worden, the shooting victim's teenage daughter, said her father, mother  and her 14-year-old brother were walking out of the store when her father was shot.  Steve Doty, who was pumping gasoline into his car at the Murphy USA gas station on the Wal-Mart lot, said the man was not talking to or chasing the robber when the shots were fired.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)