Morrilton man murdered during day, near schools

MORRILTON - An afternoon murder near Morrilton High School sent the campus into lock down and a neighborhood into mourning.

The yellow tape separated the sea of Morrilton residents in disbelief an infant is separated from its father forever.

"I didn't know for sure until I arrived on the scene here," said Emil Hammond, who knew the victim from a couple encounters. "A real shock."

Hammond was one of dozens who flooded Adams Street after 3:00 pm when two shots were fired into a 28-year-old man standing in his own doorway.

"This is my first time being this close to someone I knew had been killed," said Hammond.

The victim's family tells me his name was Eric Criswell, a former Morrilton basketball standout and father to a child less than a year old.

"The victim's girlfriend and infant child was at the residence at the time of the shooting," said Morrilton Police Chief Sonny Stover.

Morrilton police say the afternoon shooting not only rattled the neighbors, it sent schools into emergency mode.

"There's only a street that separates this neighborhood and the high school," said Stover. "As a precautionary measure we locked it down."

Police say a single suspect was arrested an hour after the shooting. He was picked up in a nearby apartment complex without incident. The unidentified suspect was being held at the Morrilton Police Department late Monday night.

For newly-appointed Chief Stover, Monday's murder was nothing ordinary.

"This is my first week on the job and this one is the first [murder] we've got," said Stover, "but working here in the past, it's pretty rare."