As Pine Bluff police continue their investigation into the Monday night murder of Brandon McHan, they are reaching out to federal authorities for help.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) New Orleans Field Division is offering a $10,000 reward, along with a $5,000 reward from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, for a total of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the attempted pawn shop robbery and subsequent homicide of a federal firearms licensee (FFL), according to a news release.
McHan, 34, the owner of Wise Buck Pawn Shop at 2408 S. Camden Road, was shot to death, and an employee was wounded when two armed suspects came into the store just after 5:30 p.m. Monday. Police said McHan exchanged gunfire with one of the two, and after the suspect left, the employee who was shot, identified as Jason Booth, went to McHan's aid.
Both suspects then reentered the business. Booth used McHan's gun to exchange gunfire with both suspects and, at some point, Booth was shot in the chin, abdomen and hand, police said.
Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley said McHan was pronounced dead by a doctor in the emergency room at Jefferson Regional Medical Center, which listed the cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds.
Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said Tuesday that he has contacted the ATF about enhancing video from the pawn shop and from the Alon Convenience Store on South Olive Street, which was robbed about an hour after the incident at the pawn shop.
“The clothing the suspects were wearing appears to be the same as the clothing the suspects at the pawn shop were wearing,” Sergeant said. “Once that video is enhanced, we are going to put it out to the public every way we can and hope somebody can identify the suspects.”
Sergeant said Pine Bluff police detectives will be paired up with the ATF agents in running down any and all leads that come in. He said he has also pulled officers assigned to the Vice and Narcotics unit and the Violent Crimes Task Force to work on the case.
“We're going to work day and night, 24 hours a day, until we get these people identified and get them into custody,” he said. “It's all hands on deck on this one.”
Anyone with information should contact the Detective Division at 730-2090 or the dispatch center at 541-5300. All calls will be kept confidential.
Sergeant said an ATF agent and a Pine Bluff detective interviewed Booth Tuesday morning at a Little Rock hospital where he was taken after the shooting. Booth is expected to recover from his wounds.
This was the 18th murder of the year in Pine Bluff and "was a business owner losing his life in his business. This one shakes the core of the community,” Sergeant said.
Meanwhile, those who knew McHan are grieving.
An outpouring of love and support for McHan and his family appeared on social media shortly after his death Monday.
Pine Bluff Alderman Bill Brumett, who is also the vice president of the Pine Bluff Small Business Association, said McHan had just recently joined the PBSBA. Brumett called McHan someone who wanted “to get involved in our town to make a difference. It's very sad.”
Joann Harris wrote on The Commercial's Facebook page that she has “loved Brandon…for a long time; you will be missed Brandon rip.”
Tisha Dixon wrote: “My prayers are with all families involved. My prayer is that the persons who did this will be found and pressed to the fullest! A great man was lost today and my prayers are with Jason that he pulls through and helps identify the shooters!”
Nikki Turner said that she remembers him as being “so sweet and humble … may God be with his family and his wife and his brother recovery and that the evil person be found.”
Rita Barnes said she often stopped into McHan's pawn shop to browse the various items. She described him as a “sweet, humble man with everything to live for.”
She added: “This kind of violence on innocent people takes things to another level. I think many people are shocked to the core.”
Dozens of other posts offered love, remembrances and prayers for McHan's family.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at the pawn shop on Camden Road.
“The ATF Little Rock Field Office and the Pine Bluff Police Department are jointly investigating this violent crime. ATF, along with their law enforcement partners, is committed to ensuring the safety of our communities, and that those who commit these types of violent crimes are brought to justice,” according to the news release.
Anyone with information about this crime should contact the ATF Little Rock Field Office at 501-324-6181 or 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), by email ATFTips@atf.gov, or through the ATF website at www.atf.gov/contact/atf-tips, or the Pine Bluff Police Department at 1-870-730-2090 or 870-541-5300.
Anonymous tips may also be submitted to ATF through the ReportIt® mobile app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting www.reportit.com. With this app, users can confidentially submit tips involving firearms and violent crimes.
ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction involving firearms and violent crimes and regulates the firearms industry. More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.