Last week, 21-year-old Christa Shockley was shot and killed at a convenience store in the town of Fouke, Arkansas. The murder, according to The Washington Post, is the first homicide that the town has seen in at least 25 years.
Compounding the tragedy is the fact that the suspect, who has been apprehended by police, is only 12 years old. He has been charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery. Under Arkansas state law, the boy cannot be charged as an adult.
Because of the suspect’s age, details about the case are scant. Police believe that the child targeted Shockley at the E-Z Mart store where she was working a graveyard shift. Authorities say he fatally shot her with a pistol. A newspaper carrier found Shockley’s body in the early hours of Thursday morning, and promptly notified the authorities. The suspect was arrested the same day.
Shockley was a student at the University of Arkansas Community College, the Texarkana Gazette reports. In addition to her job at the E-Z Mart, she worked as a security guard at the Texarkana Airport.
Shockley’s aunt, Donna Christine Shockley, wrote in a Facebook post that her niece “had just started living life, being only 21.”
The murder has rocked Fouke, a town of less than 900 people. “Our feelings have run the gamut of grief, shock, dismay and disbelief,” Fouke Mayor Terry Purvis told The Associated Press. “We’re a small town, and we’re all family and close-knit. It’s like it happened to your own family.”
Shockley’s death conforms to a troubling pattern of gender-based gun violence in the United States. Recent studies show that women are far more likely than men to be killed by gun violence.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.