Eighteen-year-old shot in center's parking lot, later dies; kids inside remained safe


For the second time in 36 hours, Pine Bluff police are investigating a homicide, this one in the central part of the city. Police Lt. David De Foor said Jerry Pryor III, 18, was shot once in the upper body at about 1:45 p.m. on the parking lot of the Merrill Community Center at 1002 S. Ash St. He was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 2:38 p.m. His body will be sent to the State Crime Laboratory for an autopsy on Thursday.

Multiple witnesses identified Alexis Reed, 18, as the person who shot Pryor. She was last seen running west across the parking lot and was not in custody as of late Wednesday afternoon. De Foor said officers have learned that Pryor and Reed were arguing outside the center in the parking lot when Pryor was shot, but it was not known what they were arguing about or their past history together.

According to a press release, there were children inside the center at the time of the incident. No one else was injured, and the shooting did not happen in front of the children. De Foor said the center was locked down as soon as the shooting occurred, and the children were taken from the center after the scene was secured.

Late Tuesday evening, Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington issued a statement about the event on Facebook.

“In light of the unfortunate incident that occurred at the Merrill Center today, the center will be open tomorrow to provide services for the children,” the mayor said in the statement. “There will be counselors, clergy, and volunteers on hand to address any concerns that may arise. The PBPD will also have officers present. We want to reassure our parents and the community that the Merrill Center will continue to be a safe haven for our children.”

At about 1:24 a.m. on Tuesday, 73-year-old George Kelsey called 911 to report that he had shot his wife, Mickie Kelsey, 74, and himself inside their residence at 210 Sidney Street. When officers forced their way inside the house, they found Mickie Kelsey with a gunshot wound to the upper body. She was pronounced dead at the scene by Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley.

George Kelsey, who had a single gunshot wound to the chest, was taken to JRMC, where he was pronounced dead Tuesday night. The body of Mickie Kelsey was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory at Little Rock for an autopsy.

A motive in that shooting has not been determined. Since Jan. 1, there have been 18 homicides in the city of Pine Bluff, eight more than were recorded in all of 2016. Anyone with information about Reed should contact the Detective Division at 730-2081 or the dispatch center at 541-5300. All calls will be kept confidential.

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