Widener man shot; deputies seeking suspect

The St. Francis County Sheriff's Department is searching for a Widener man in connection with a Friday shooting after an argument over a lawnmower.

According to a sheriff's department report, deputies were called to 295 N. Jefferson St., in Widener just after 9 p.m., after it was reported that Hal Wofford, 64, of Widener had been shot.

When deputies arrived, they found several people standing around Wofford, who was on his hands and knees with a bullet wound to the lower left abdomen. An ambulance was called to the scene and Wofford was later transported to the Med in Memphis.

SFC Sheriff Bobby May today said Wofford is in critical condition at the Med.

"It's my understanding that Mr. Wofford and the suspect, Jerome Perkins, got into an argument over a lawnmower that Mr. Perkins sold to Mr. Wofford. Mr. Perkins alleged that Mr. Wofford didn't pay him for it and Mr. Wofford said that he did," said May. "Witnesses at the scene said the argument began inside a house, but carried outside, at which time Mr. Perkins snatched some money out of Mr. Wofford's hand and then fired several shots, striking Mr. Wofford in the abdomen. Mr. Perkins then walked away from the scene and left the area," said May.

"We're working completely off of witness statements at this point because Mr. Wofford is in critical condition at the Med, on a respirator and cannot speak. There were several witnesses on the scene who were instrumental in giving us information on this incident. Even though we don't have him yet, we're going to catch him, and any help from the public would be appreciated," added May.

According to Sgt. Blake Hudson with the department's Criminal Investigation Division, Perkins' last known location was in an area north of Jonesboro, but he may be back in this area. Hudson said Perkins' girlfriend, 21-year-old Ashley Christian, also of Widener, was also taken into custody on several charges after investigators found scales and marijuana during a search of Perkins' residence in Widener.

"The last known location that we have for Mr. Perkins was north of Jonesboro and we were able to use his cell phone to find that out, but he may have since come back to the area. We arrested his girlfriend on obstruction charges in connection with our investigation, and she is also facing some drug charges after we found marijuana in their home along with some scales," said Hudson.

Wofford was last seen in a maroon Chevrolet Sonoma pickup.

Christian is facing charges of obstruction of governmental operations, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Anyone with information in connection with Friday's incident is asked to contact the sheriff's department at 870-633-2611.

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