Pine Bluff Police are in the early stages of investigating a homicide that occurred Thursday night.

Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley identified the victim as Samario Shaw, 22, who was pronounced dead by a doctor in the Emergency Room at Jefferson Regional at 5:40 p.m. The cause of death was listed as multiple gunshots to the upper portion of the body and Kelley said the body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office at Little Rock for an autopsy Friday.

This was the 23rd homicide so far this year inside the Pine Bluff City limits. In 2018, a total of 19 homicides were reported and in 2017, the total was 28.

According to a police report from Officer Kelsey Collins, Shaw was found face down on a parking lot at 3801 W. 14th Ave., and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Collins also reported finding 11 spent shell casings on the east side of the building and said a vehicle was struck twice on the right side.

Violent Crimes Unit Officers responded to the reported shooting and after the call went out, emergency dispatchers reported that a possible suspect was traveling north from the Family Dollar at 1313 S. Blake St. That suspect was reportedly wearing a mask. Officer Corey Wilfong then reported that he had seen an individual matching the description witnesses had given on West Hepburn Street but lost sight of him when the suspect entered a wooded area on South Fig Street. Wilfong asked for assistance in setting up a perimeter.

Officer Sabrina Washington reported that while officers were getting in place for the perimeter, Officer Ryan Edwards reported seeing a male running north on Fig Street, then west of 11th Avenue and go in the door of a house in the 4000 block of West 11th Avenue.Violent Crime Unit Officers along with Detectives and Uniformed Officers surrounded the house and ordered the occupants out.

The first out was the subject Wilfong had seen running across South Blake Street and when he exited the house, he had a mask in his hand and was taken into custody. Two other occupants, both elderly males also came out of the house. One of them, the owner of the residence, gave officers permission to search but nothing was found.

Washington also reported that Violent Crime Unit officers retraced the route the suspect had taken, looking for a gun or other evidence connected to the shooting but nothing was found.

The suspect was questioned by detectives but due to a lack of evidence, he was released pending further investigation.He was however booked on a misdemeanor failure to appear warrant.

Anyone with information should contact he Detective Division at 730-2090 or the Dispatch Center at 541-5300. A reward may be available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Information may also be shared on the department’s Facebook page.