Morn­ing gun­fire fa­tal to LR man

Res­i­dents: Area is usu­ally quiet

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - CLARA TURNAGE

Neigh­bors de­scribed the apart­ment com­plex where a 32-year-old Lit­tle Rock man was fa­tally shot early Fri­day morn­ing as nor­mally a quiet and safe place to live.

Levon Sales Jr. was al­ready dead when of­fi­cers ar­rived at Oakridge Apart­ments about 1:45 a.m., ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Lit­tle Rock Po­lice De­part­ment.

Sales was found ly­ing in the apart­ment’s drive­way with gun­shot wounds, the re­port said. The num­ber and lo­ca­tion of Sales’ wounds were not re­leased.

De­part­ment spokesman of­fi­cer Eric Barnes said po­lice don’t have a sus­pect in the shoot­ing. Sales’ body was trans­ported to the state Crime Lab­o­ra­tory for au­topsy, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cers’ re­port.

Oakridge Apart­ments is a small clus­ter of tan-and­white two-story build­ings sur­rounded by trees in south­west Lit­tle Rock. Although the com­plex has its share of bur­glar­ies, res­i­dents said the neigh­bor­hood is typ­i­cally quiet.

“It’s nor­mally pretty peace­ful around here, but ev­ery once in a while some­thing hap­pens,” said James Lawrey, who has lived in the com­plex for about two years.

Res­i­dents were still

stand­ing in the door­ways of their build­ings Fri­day af­ter­noon talk­ing to one an­other and re­count­ing de­tails of what they saw ear­lier that morn­ing. Many of the fam­i­lies stand­ing just a few dozen yards from where Sales’ body was found had small chil­dren.

“I didn’t hear any­thing, but I saw the lights and came out­side,” Lawrey said. “You could see the blood leak­ing, get­ting big­ger, on the ground.”

Lawrey said it ap­peared Sales was bleed­ing from his head.

He said he didn’t know Sales per­son­ally but that he’d seen him of­ten around the apart­ments. Of­fi­cers listed Sales’ ad­dress as be­ing on Gal­la­had Drive, less than a half-mile from where his body was found, but Lawrey said the man was of­ten seen around Oakridge Apart­ments.

“He was there for a while,” Lawrey said. “The po­lice came and then more po­lice showed up and they put a black sheet on him, but his body was on the ground un­til like 5 [a.m.].”

Kaylen Franklin said a friend had called her while she was sit­ting in her ve­hi­cle out­side her apart­ment when she heard gun­shots.

Franklin said she couldn’t re­mem­ber the ex­act num­ber of shots but that the gun­fire was “con­stant” for sev­eral mo­ments. “I went in­side and told [her room­mate], ‘Don’t go out­side, some­body’s shoot­ing,’” Franklin said.

Less than an hour later, Franklin said her room­mate woke her up and told her about the dead man in their drive­way.

Franklin and sev­eral other neigh­bors said they stood out­side as po­lice took pho­tos and in­ves­ti­gated.

The last homi­cide at Oakridge Apart­ments was in April 2014 when 25-year-old Leonard Mont­gomery was shot and killed in the park­ing lot, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous re­ports. Tom­mie Lean­gelo Ice pleaded guilty in May 2015 to a man­slaugh­ter charge for the homi­cide, which re­port­edly stemmed from an ar­gu­ment be­tween ri­val gangs.

“I was spooked,” Franklin said. “I just couldn’t sleep. We haven’t had this kind of thing in years.”

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