'My heart is broken': Arkansas leaders react to Little Rock mass shooting

At least 17 people were injured in gunfire as shots rang out at Power Ultra Lounge in Little Rock early Saturday morning. (KATV Photo)

Leaders across Arkansas and in Little Rock are responding to a mass shooting that injured multiple people at the Power Ultra Lounge overnight.

In an interview with Channel 7, Governor Asa Hutchinson said, "This is something that has just gone too far. We have to really get a better handle on the violence here in Little Rock and take some very aggressive action here."

The governor also issued the following statement:

First and foremost, my thoughts are with the victims and their families this morning, and the First Lady and I are praying for their quick recovery. I also want to thank the first responders who no doubt saved lives with their quick action.
"Little Rock's crime problem appears to be intensifying. Every few days it seems a high profile shooting dominates the news, culminating with this morning's event. I have spoken this morning with Mayor Stodola and I have offered both my heart felt concern over this senseless violent tragedy and state assets as needed to address the continued threat of violence in our community.
“We are still gathering facts, but it is clear that we need to have a comprehensive enforcement strategy in place that helps take the violent threats off the streets. The state will participate and bring assets to the table to support local law enforcement efforts."

"This is something that has just gone too far and we have to really get a handle on the violence

"My heart is broken this morning," said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. "It's absolutely outrageous, outlandish conduct that occurred last night at this late-night club."

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement:

My thoughts and prayers are with all 28 victims who were injured overnight at the Power Ultra Lounge in Little Rock, and I am grateful for the first responders who saved multiple lives.
Today, we all woke to the tragic news that this senseless act of violence occurred right in the heart of our capital city. As state and community leaders, it is our responsibility to encourage a civil, peaceful discourse and that violence can never be the solution to solve our differences. As the chief law enforcement officer, I stand ready to assist the Little Rock Police Department as they continue their investigation and we work together to reduce crime in our communities.

Congressman French Hill issued a statement saying, "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this morning’s senseless act of violence. I am confident in the ability of our seasoned police officers in Little Rock to bring the suspect or suspects to justice, and I have reached out to Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner to offer any assistance he may need from my office. I also thank our first responders, doctors, and hospital staff for their treatment of those wounded. Members of our community are strong and resilient, and it's when we work together that we can find solutions to overcome this kind of violence.”

Sen. John Boozman released the following statement: "Cathy and I send our prayers to the victims of this tragic violence. I continue to stand and support law enforcement to fight this ongoing reckless violence in our capital city.”

Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted, "I appreciate the quick action of Little Rock police in response to last night's shooting. My prayers are with all involved."

The Downtown Little Rock Partnership released the following statement in reference to the shooting: “Our thoughts and well-wishes go out to those injured and affected by this senseless act. We wish for their speedy recoveries. We want to commend the Little Rock Police Department, first-responders, and medical staff for their quick actions. Today, we help those in need, while also acknowledging that there will be more conversations to be had in the coming days.”

Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman, Representative Michael John Gray, issued this statement:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the shooting that occurred in downtown Little Rock early this morning. Seventeen people were shot and others were injured as a result of the calamity caused by a shooter in an enclosed environment.
We know all too well this has not been an isolated incident. We do not need to wait for the next tragedy to turn our heartbreak into action.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas demands that our state and city leaders utilize their platforms to elevate the long overdue conversation about gun violence in our communities beyond traditional lip service.
Too often gun violence is marginalized when it is referred to as 'gang violence' or 'black on black crime.' This prompts leaders to do a couple of community forums and call for instituting a no tolerance policy that ultimately becomes a de facto profiling initiative which furthers breeds mistrust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Gun violence is not simply a black issue or white issue. It is an issue that rips apart and strikes fear into every community.
Our leaders should stand up to political pressure caused by special interest groups that do not want to address this issue. We know that responsivle gun ownership and use will not be limited by reasonable gun safety laws. We must also acknowledge the circumstances that lead to violence. by fighting poverty and working to address mental health and substance abuse issues, including opioids and methamphetomines, we can begin to combat all of the things that are destroying the lvies of children and families across our state."

A press conference will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. at City Hall with updates on the investigation.

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