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story.lead_photo.caption A Pulaski County sheriff’s official gathers evidence on Jan. 19, 2018, after a fatal shooting at Fairfax Crossing Apartments. It was the second homicide at the complex in less than four months. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

A man in a ski mask shot and killed a mother in front of her four children early Friday morning at an apartment complex just outside the North Little Rock city limits.

The gunman, who had not been caught by Friday evening, approached 30-year-old April Harris as she walked with her kids to her car before 6:30 a.m. at the Fairfax Crossing apartment complex, formerly known as Chapel Ridge Apartments, authorities said.

Harris was holding her 5-year-old daughter Autumn and both were shot. Harris died from her injuries later Friday morning at a hospital. Autumn was taken to Arkansas Children's Hospital, where she was listed in stable condition, authorities said.

The other three children -- 9-year-old Madison and 10-year-old twins Mike and Morgan -- ran from the gunfire and were unharmed.

A friend of Harris' told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the family was not ready to talk about the shooting but would reach out at a later time.

"It's just unreal," the friend, Amanda Ro, wrote on Facebook.

Pulaski County sheriff's office investigators initially searched for the gunman in the apartment complex. He was said to be dressed in all black and wearing a ski mask. Witnesses told law enforcement officials that the man ran behind an apartment building.

Authorities didn't release details on any possible motive Friday.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff's office at (501) 340-6963.

Harris' Facebook account is dominated by photographs she has posted of her children over the years.

In her profile picture, she holds balloons signaling her 30th birthday. A few weeks ago, just after Christmas, she updated her cover photo to a picture of her four children -- the older ones in school uniforms holding backpacks or lunch bags, the younger child posing in the front.

A neighbor told a television crew that Harris usually warmed up her car each morning before she and her children left before 6 a.m. on weekdays. Her car was warming up and she and the children were walking toward it when she and Autumn were shot Friday, the neighbor said.

Harris' death is the second homicide at the apartment complex at 5900 McCain Park Place in less than four months.

James Ward, 29, of Jacksonville was shot and killed in the same parking lot Sept. 28.

Four men have been charged in that killing, described in police accounts as a drug deal that turned into a robbery and murder.

A witness in that crime told authorities that she and another man rode with Ward to the apartment complex that day to meet someone who was giving directions to Ward on the phone.

At the time the complex was called Chapel Ridge. It changed ownership in November and was renamed Fairfax Crossing, an employee said.

A second witness told police that a man approached Ward, who was driving, pointed a handgun at Ward and then pistol-whipped him.

The gunman, who was accompanied by three others, told Ward to get out of the vehicle and sit on a nearby bench, where the three began taking Ward's shoes, phone, money and drugs, police said. One man shot Ward and ran away, and another got into Ward's vehicle and drove off, police said.

Ward died from a single bullet wound in his head.

Arrested and charged with capital murder in that killing were Joshua Cangiano, 27; Terry Miller Jr.; Jackie Jackson III, 28; and Jeffery Lamont King.

King was identified as the shooter, police reported. Miller, Jackson and Cangiano all admitted to their involvement in the crime, police said.

A police report says Miller told authorities that he, King, Jackson and Cangiano went to meet Ward at the apartment complex to rob him of "Roxy" pills. Miller said he "freaked out" when King shot Ward, and Miller got in the victim's vehicle and drove away.

Lt. Cody Burk, a spokesman for the Pulaski County sheriff's office, said deputies frequently patrol the area around the apartment complex because of crimes that occur there and nearby.

In the wake of Friday's shooting, "we will provide extra patrols," Burk said.

Deputies have been called to the apartment complex 18 times since Jan. 1, not counting medical calls, according to a log provided by the sheriff's office.

Several phone calls made to the apartment complex Friday afternoon were not answered.

Photo by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
A map showing the location of Fairfax Crossing Apartments

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Metro on 01/20/2018

Print Headline: Gunfire kills mom, hurts 5-year-old

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