Locals in Fouke, Ark., are mourning the senseless murder of 21-year-old Christa Shockley, who was found dead by a newspaper carrier early Thursday morning at the EZ Mart where she worked as a clerk.
Police have announced the arrest of a lone suspect, and he’s not even a teenager yet.
By 8 a.m., the suspect was in police custody. He is being held at Miller County Juvenile Detention Center and has been charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery.
Fouke residents are mourning Shockley’s loss.
EZ Corporate Property Director Mike Ingram offered his condolences to Shockley’s family.
“It’s very tragic. I feel so sorry for the family. I know they’re going through a lot right now. It hurts the entire EZ Mart family,” he said.
Shockley’s school, the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana, also released a statement:
All our faculty, staff and students who were blessed to encounter her on our UA-Texarkana campus fully appreciate Christa as a bright and caring person. In her commitment to achieving her own educational dreams, she touched the lives of so many on our campus in such a powerful way. Please join me in lifting her family up with our collective thoughts and prayers during this time of their unimaginable loss.
Others relayed their shock to the Texarkana Gazette.
“The whole community is in shock. Several people have been calling City Hall concerned about what happened. It’s sad, so sad,” Fouke City Administrator Tammy Lovell said.
“Our feelings have run the gamut of grief, shock, dismay and disbelief,” Fouke Mayor Terry Purvis added. “We’re a small town, and we’re all family and close-knit. It’s like it happened to your own family.”
Because of his age, the suspect is not being identified.
Miller County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael McQuerrey said that it appeared Shockley was targeted.
“About 7 a.m., personnel from the Fouke School District were contacted and given a brief summary of the investigation. At that time, no suspects had been identified. However, it appeared the victim had been specifically targeted,” he said. “A juvenile suspect was identified. Because of his age and as a precaution, the Fouke School was contacted a second time with the new information, and deputies were sent to the school to help ensure the safety of the students and staff.”
A source close to the investigation told KSLA that the suspect has autism.
A co-worker of Shockley’s said he was certain justice would be done and that the people of Fouke would not let this stand.
“Whoever it is, I guarantee they’re going to get justice, ’cause not a single person in Fouke is going to let this go by,” Donald Williford said.