A Pine Bluff man accused of shooting a woman to death Saturday night told one story to detectives when he was interviewed, but Facebook posts just prior to the shooting told a different one.
Jalin Reynolds, 19, is accused of capital murder in the death of Zaria Johnson, 19, who was shot multiple times at West 17th Avenue and Elm Street at 6:14 p.m. Saturday. She was pronounced dead at the emergency room at Jefferson Regional Medical Center at 6:59 p.m. Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley said the body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office at Little Rock Sunday for an autopsy.
Reynolds was identified as the suspect by witnesses at the scene; when questioned by Pine Bluff Police Detective Keith Banks, he admitted to shooting Johnson but said, “it did not have to happen as it did.”
He initially said the shooting was in self-defense, but he could not explain why he shot Johnson several times in the back when she was face down, Banks said in a probable cause affidavit presented in district court Monday.
After police obtained a search warrant from District Judge John Kearney Sunday, they checked Reynolds’ cell phone and found a text message to someone called “Lul Baby” at 5:48 p.m., which said he (Reynolds) “had the choppa, and he was not going to fight. I’m shooting.”
That message was just over 20 minutes before the shooting incident. A second text message at the same time said, “I’m finna gone and kill ha.”
According to the affidavit, Pine Bluff Police Officer Donald Griffin was at West 17th Avenue and Cherry Street when he was flagged down about a shooting at West 17th Avenue and Elm Street. In his report, Griffin said that when he arrived, he saw Johnson face down on the ground and could tell she had been shot several times.
“One bullet wound to her neck and multiple in her torso area,” Griffin said in the report.
He said he asked Johnson to “stay with me,” and told her help was on the way. He reported that Johnson told him “OK” and took a deep breath.
Griffin said in the report that while waiting for emergency medical personnel, he checked Johnson again to make sure that she was still breathing and did not get a response from her.
According to the affidavit, several witnesses said Reynolds had pulled up and gotten into an argument with Johnson “about trying to fight his baby’s mother.”
The witnesses said Johnson ran up and struck Reynolds in the face. Reynolds then went to his car, grabbed a rifle and then fired one shot in the air before firing at Johnson, who fell to the ground. Reynolds then stood over her and continued to shoot her multiple times before getting back in his vehicle and leaving the scene.
Banks said in the affidavit that a BOLO (be on the lookout) was put out for Reynolds’ car, which was found unoccupied on the parking lot of Camelot Apartments at 4001 Old Warren Road. At about 8:10 p.m., Pine Bluff Police Detective Sgt. Derric Neal reported seeing Reynolds on Facebook Live saying that he was at the Camelot Apartments. He was taken into custody on the south side of the complex.
Reynolds will be held at the adult detention center without bond after Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney ruled prosecutors have probable cause to charge him with capital murder.
The slaying was the 16th inside the Pine Bluff city limits this year. Last year, there were a total of 10 for the year.