LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A man with "political
and religious motives" killed a soldier just out of basic training and wounded another Monday in
a targeted attack on a military recruiting center, police said. The shootings
were not believed to be part of a broader scheme.
The soldiers completed basic training within
the past two weeks and were not regular recruiters, said Lt. Col. Thomas F. Artis of the Oklahoma City Recruiting Battalion,
which oversees the Little Rock office.
Long, 24, of Conway, died, and Quinton Ezeagwula, 18, of Jacksonville, was wounded and in stable condition, Police
Chief Stuart Thomas said.
Both men were from nearby hometowns and
volunteered to work at the recruiting center to attract other locals to the military. "They can show the example, 'Here's
where I was, and here is where I am,'" Artis said.
Police arrested Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad,
23, along a crosstown interstate moments after the shootings at the Army-Navy Career Center in a shopping center in west Little
Muhammad acted alone, the police chief said,
and based on an interview with officers, the suspect "probably had political and religious motives for the attack." He lived
in an apartment just 1.5 miles from the recruiting center. A search warrant had been obtained for the apartment.
Thomas said Muhammad, previously known as
Carlos Bledsoe, would be charged with first-degree murder, plus 15 counts of committing a terroristic act. Thomas said those
counts result from the gunfire occurring near other people.
The accused shooter's father, Melvin Bledsoe
of Memphis, Tenn., hung up on a reporter who called about his son's arrest Monday night.
Witnesses told police that a man inside
a black vehicle pulled up outside the recruiting center and opened fire about 10:30 a.m. Long fell onto the sidewalk outside
the center while Ezeagwula was able to crawl toward its door.
Police said Muhammad's vehicle was stopped
on Interstate 630 a short time later and the suspect was taken into custody.
Police Lt. Terry Hastings said the suspect surrendered without incident. Police found an assault rifle
and other weapons in the vehicle.
Richardson, the manager at a drug store around the corner from the Army-Navy center, said people at the store didn't
realize anything was amiss until hearing sirens outside.
"Nobody heard any gunshots," Richardson
Johnson, an 18-year-old recruit, was on his way to take a qualifying test when he found police cars at the center. By early afternoon,
Johnson was waiting patiently outside the yellow police tape.
"I'm going to check and see if they're all
right," he said.
Associated Press writer Chuck Bartels contributed
to this story.