No arrests in 8 connected Little Rock shootings, cops say; 3 occurred outside home of Darren McFadden's mother

Unhelpful victims put probe ‘behind 8 ball,’ officer says

Posted: June 19, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

Police investigate a shooting at West 13th and Rice streets in Little Rock on Sept. 20, 2016.

Little Rock police say they believe there is a connection between a string of shootings last fall and three shootings this spring, including an April incident that injured the niece of Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden, authorities said.

The connected shootings span from Sept. 30, 2016, to April 27 this year, and have left a total of 10 people injured by gunfire, said officer Steve Moore, a Police Department spokesman.

A number of the shooting victims are relatives of Mini Muhammad, McFadden's mother, and three of the eight connected incidents have occurred outside her West 24th Street residence, according to Moore.

[TIMELINE+MAP: Details on the 8 shootings police believe are connected]

Reached by phone last week, Muhammad said she is not involved in the shootings and simply wants the the violence to stop.

"This stuff is bothering me, and it's gotten to the point where I don't want to leave my house," she said.

Last fall, two of Muhammad's grandchildren were injured in a triple shooting a block from the campus of Little Rock Central High School, according to Moore. And months later in April, her teenage granddaughter was also injured in a shooting on Baseline Road, police said.

"I pray constantly that all this will go away," Muhammad said.

Many of the victims have been young -- half of the people were 17 years old or younger when they were shot -- and all of the victims were under 24 years of age when injured.

Moore said police have drawn a connection between seven shootings and an eighth incident last October in which Muhammad's house was hit with bullets but nobody was struck.

No arrests have been made in any of the shootings, police said. More than half of the connected incidents have occurred near two Little Rock intersections: Marshall and West 24th streets and Peyton and West 16th streets. Moore said the individuals from both areas are "familiar with each other," but he did not specify how the shootings are connected.

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Lt. Steve McClanahan, a Police Department spokesman, said investigators have seen a lack of cooperation from some of the victims in the shootings.

"It's frustrating, because we as police oftentimes know who's involved, but that doesn't mean we can bring closure to the case. We still have to have cooperation from the victim," McClanahan said.

Little Rock has seen an uptick in violent crime so far this year.

Preliminary police data show 1,539 violent crimes occurred from Jan. 1 to June 12, a 20 percent increase from the 1,284 violent crimes recorded in the same period last year.

There has also been an 86.3 percent increase in the number of people injured by gunfire in the first five months of the year, according to Police Department data. A total of 82 people were hurt by gunfire from the beginning of the year through May compared with 44 victims during the same time period in 2016, according to police data.

Homicides are also up in Little Rock. Police had logged 27 homicides as of Friday afternoon. There had been 14 homicides in Little Rock by this time last year.

Department officials have said in the past that Little Rock has seen a violent crime increase that began late last year.

"It is trending [in] the wrong direction," McClanahan said.

Connected shootings

Police say the first connected shooting occurred the night of Friday, Sept. 30.

A crowd gathered outside the hectic crime scene at the intersection on West 13th and Rice streets, a block from the Central High campus.

Three teenagers had been shot and rushed to the hospital. All three were taken into surgery, police said.

Bilal Muhammad, then 19, and Bilijah Muhammad, then 18, were both shot during the incident, along with a 17-year-old friend, Moore said. Both Bilal and Bilijah are the sons of 39-year-old Bilal Muhammad, according to Moore.

Public records show the older Bilal Muhammad is the half brother of Darren McFadden. Through his agent, McFadden declined to comment on the shootings.

Bilijah Muhammad was in such serious condition after the shooting that Little Rock homicide detectives thought he had died, McClanahan said.

That night, the department reported a man had died in the shooting, only to correct the mistake the next day when he still remained alive.

"I had crying spells and stuff like that because we didn't know if Bilijah was going to make it or not," Mini Muhammad said.

Bilijah survived the shooting but was left paralyzed, Mini Muhammad said. She said he was initially pronounced brain dead at the hospital, but later was able to regain his speech.

"He's going against all odds," Mini Muhammad said.

"But it's a long journey for him," she said.

Police say the second connected shooting came less than a week later, on Oct. 6. This time, a 15-year-old boy was injured by gunfire, authorities said.

Officers were called around 3:30 p.m. and found the teenager lying in the middle of the street near Montclair Road and Cone Lane, authorities said.

The third connected shooting came hours later and three blocks away, Moore said.

At 8:42 p.m., police were dispatched to the intersection at Peyton and West 16th streets.

Two victims -- Willie Abrenjelon and an unnamed 16-year-old boy -- were shot in the incident then dropped off at UAMS Medical Center, police said. The gunfire left the teenager in critical condition while Abrenjelon was in stable condition. Both survived the shooting.

A day later, on Oct. 7, bullets riddled the side of Mini Muhammad's residence at 1616 W. 24th St. Nobody was struck, but several bullets had hit the house, police said. Investigators also found shell casings on the front doorstep of the house and in the carport, according to the report.

Over a month later, on Nov. 10, Keyshawn Moseby was injured in a drive-by shooting while sitting on the front porch at the same West 24th Street residence, witnesses told police. Moseby was shot in the upper thigh and taken to the UAMS Medical Center, where he survived his injuries.

Muhammad said Moseby is her grandson.

Muhammad told police that she was in her bedroom upstairs when several shots were fired outside her house. She was not hit, but did not come down the stairway because she feared someone had been harmed, according to the report.

Moseby, along with two other men, told police that they were sitting on the front porch when a vehicle passed, heading south on Marshall Street. A person inside then fired three or more shots at them, hitting Moseby, the report said.

Spring shootings

The next connected shooting came months later, in April, Moore said.

At 11:34 p.m. April 16, officers responded to the 3200 block of Baseline Road on a report of shots fired in the area, according to a police report.

Later, police were dispatched to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock for a shooting report. The teenage daughter of 39-year-old Bilal Muhammad had a single gunshot wound in her knee, authorities said.

The girl, who was 16 when she was shot, said she did not know anything and refused to speak with officers, according to the report.

Her father also told police that he did not want his daughter talking with the police, according to the report.

When victims refuse to cooperate, McClanahan said, it hinders investigators' ability to solve crimes and bring people to justice.

"That already puts us way behind the eight ball. So now we're fighting an uphill battle," McClanahan said.

Officers found a crime scene connected to the shooting in the parking lot of the Baseline Bilingual School, at 3425 Baseline Road, according to the report.

About a week after the Baseline shooting, on April 23, a 14-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by shooting, police said. She was shot while sitting inside a car in the driveway outside a one-story house at 1523 Peyton St.

The house sits on the same intersection -- West 16th and Peyton -- as the shooting that injured two people the previous October.

According to the police report, the unnamed teenager was sitting in a vehicle outside the residence with two women when shots were fired from a vehicle that was traveling westbound on West 16th Street toward Peyton Street, according to the report.

A person in the front passenger seat opened fire before the vehicle traveled north on Peyton from West 16th Street, witnesses told police.

Moore said the last of the connected incidents occurred less than a week after the shooting of the 14-year-old girl.

On April 27, officers responded to the area of West 24th and Marshall streets for a report of shots fired in the area, according to the report. When they arrived, police found several rounds in the intersection and saw that "several" rounds had hit Mini Muhammad's West 24th Street home, the report said.

Keshawn McElrath, 21, was injured in the drive-by shooting and transported to a hospital by a private vehicle, police said. He did not have life-threatening injuries, the report said.

Muhammad said all she wants is the violence to stop.

"I'm just the grandmother here ... wondering when all this is going to stop," she said.

Metro on 06/19/2017