Central Arkansas Library System

An 11-year-old boy told a library employee he shot his father in a car in the parking lot at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center Wednesday morning, according to an internal email sent to Central Arkansas Library System staff on Thursday.

The email relays the events on Wednesday morning and the interaction staff had with the children involved. It notes the adult sustained life-threatening injures and was transported to a hospital.

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Here’s the email sent to CALS employees:

I have some very sad news to share with you all about the incident that caused the closure of the Children’s Library yesterday. We want you all to be aware of what transpired so that if you encounter curiosity from patrons or in the community, you are not caught by surprise. 

A little before 9am Wednesday, two children and an adult were in a parked vehicle on the lot at Children’s Library waiting for the library to open, when a gun inside the car was fired, striking the adult.   

One staff member was sitting in her car near the vehicle when the gun went off. She heard the gunshot and then one of the kids opened the driver’s door and got out of the car. This boy had been driving the vehicle when it pulled up. He and a younger girl came into the library and asked that someone call 9-1-1 and the boy stated that he had shot his father. Security staff responded to the person in the vehicle and stayed with him until the first responders arrived on scene. Our staff called 9-1-1 and also used the Centegix panic alert system.   

A staff member thought that the gun was in the kid’s pocket when they entered the library. They walked the kid away from the building and other people. The gun was later confiscated by the paramedics. The kid was not brandishing or holding the weapon. 

When LRPD arrived, they put-up crime scene tape around the south side of the parking lot. At the time, there were approximately a dozen patrons in the library. While the LRPD processed the crime scene, people were not allowed to leave the parking lot. Once the police finished their work and removed the yellow tape all the patrons were allowed to leave. We then closed the doors and assembled the entire Children’s staff and the Administration members who were on the scene in the theater for a debriefing which Rebecca led. Staff were allowed to go home for the remainder of the day.

Nate received an update from the Mayor later in the morning.  According to the mayor, the boy in the car at the time of the shooting is 11. The father was taken to UAMS “with life-threatening injuries,” but according to the police report, his condition has been upgraded to stable.

This isn’t a scenario that you can ever be truly prepared to step into. But, our staff responded so well; I’m very proud of them. They were calm, reacted quickly and appropriately, and showed great kindness to the children impacted by the tragedy.

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