Police say Patricia McClure-Hajek, 58, faces a first degree murder charges in the shooting death of an Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department worker.
The shooting happened around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday at a rest stop on Interstate 40 near Van Buren. “You wouldn’t never think somebody lives right next to you, you know would go out and kill someone,” said Glen Mitchell, a neighbor. “I’ve never seen no one there. She’s always there by herself,” he said.
Van Buren police say the victim is 54-year-old Sharren Richards. Officers believe she was shot twice, at least once in the chest. “I believe that she may have been trying to check on the suspect,” said Det. Jonathan Wear.
Police found a grey truck on the scene with noticeable damage. Officers believe McClure-Hajek may have gone through a median or off the road before the shooting.
Investigators searched the suspect’s truck. Van Buren police say they also searched her property in Franklin County.
Investigators believe the women were strangers. “As far as we know this was an isolated incident you know we’re really not sure what made her do it,” said Det. Wear.
Officers are not sure why McClure-Hajek was at the rest stop. “Use to be you know you didn’t hear so much about it, but now every day you hear somebody’s shooting somebody,” said Mitchell.
Investigators say McClure-Hajek was taken to the hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the leg.
Police say the victim’s body will be sent to the State Crime Lab for an autopsy.
Richards worked out of Alma with Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. She has been a state employee since 2007. A representative with the highway department says rest area attendants are never armed.