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Gun violence erupts on Missouri Street

West Memphis man facing multiple charges, including attempted murder

ralphhardin@gmail.com With city streets still clogged with after-school traffic and folks making their way home from the end of the work week last Friday, the scene on Missouri Street erupted into confusion and chaos as gun violence that has plagued neighborhood streets in some parts of the city for the past several months made its way to one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares.

A little after 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, officers with the West Memphis Police Department responded to a shooting near the intersection of North Missouri Street and Dover Road.

“When officers arrived on the scene they located a vehicle that had been struck by several gunshots in the intersection,” reported West Memphis Police Department Enforcement/Criminal Investigation Division Commander Capt. Joe Baker.

By the time police arrived, however, the shooter and victim were nowhere to be found.

“Prior to officers’ arrival, the victim in the shooting was transported to Regional One (in Memphis) by a private vehicle,” explained Baker.

The victim was later identified as William Stokes, a 25-year-old male from West Memphis.

“Officers located three other victims in the vehicle who had not actually been struck by the gunfire,” Baker said. “The victims were a 6-year-old female, a 20-year-old female and a 25-year old-male.”

The victims’ names were not released.

“Officers were able to identify the suspect as Matryne Vail, a 24-year-old West Memphis man, and determined the shooting was retaliation from a prior incident between Vail and one of the victims,” said Baker.

Officers were able to locate Vail and take him into custody at his mother’s residence shortly after the shooting.

“The arresting officers located a .40 caliber firearm in Vail’s possession at the time of his arrest,” said Baker.

Vail has a lengthy prior criminal history and at the time of the incident, he had an outstanding warrant for Theft by Receiving of a Firearm out of the West Memphis District Court.

Vail is currently in custody at the Crittenden County Dentention Center, held on numerous charges, including four counts of Criminal Attempted Capital Murder and 15 counts of Discharging a Firearm from a Vehicle. He is expected to be arraigned on those charges today.

By Ralph Hardin

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