One Arrested In Connection To Fort Smith Shooting

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A man was arrested in connection to a shooting in Fort Smith on Wednesday (Aug. 9), according to a press release from the Fort Smith Police Department.

Police responded to a local hospital at about 6:45 p.m. regarding a female brought into the emergency room by two men. A 19-year-old girl appeared to have a gunshot wound that traveled through her arm and lodged in her chest.

The release states that the victim underwent emergency surgery and is listed in stable, but critical condition.

One of the men who brought the victim to the hospital was identified as Joel Ayala. Investigators were initially the shooting took place at Martin Luther King Park, but were later told the shooting happened at a residence on the 3000 block of Hardie Avenue.

The victim was allegedly in a bedroom receiving a tattoo when Ayala began handling a gun, the release states. The gun went off and struck the victim in the arm and continued to her chest. Police were told that the shooting accidental.

Ayala was arrested on suspicion of first-degree battery, felon in possession of a gun and parole violation. He is being held without bond at the Sebastian County Detention Center. The release states that the gun has not been recovered.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrest are expected.