El Dorado alderman says it’s going to take more than just empathy to stop the violence in the community

Local News

EL DORADO, Ar. (06/16/20) — The El Dorado community is shaken by the weekend homicide that took the life of 25 year-old Xavier Thrower

Police believe the incident was an attempted robbery as the suspect took the purse of a woman who was also inside the home.

“Why? Why would a young man be bold enough to come rob another young man,” City Councilman, Andre Rucks said.

The shooting happened in the Murmil Heights neighborhood which is in Rucks’ ward and also a few houses down from where he lives. He didn’t hear the gunshots but walked outside of his home to see police cars blocking the street.

The incident also weighed heavy on Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer’s heart and mind. She posted a video to Facebook addressing the recent murder and violence in general that has transpired over time.

“I want this to hit you right here,” she said while pointing at her heart. “I want this to outrage you in a way where you say things have to change and we can all do better.”

Mayor Smith-Creer then asked two questions ”what is it that we’re not doing that we need to do” and ”what are we doing that we need to do more.”

The city started a summer program last year for anyone between 16-22 years of age. Rucker is hoping to do the program again but he knows it’s going to take more than that to get the youth off of the streets.

The El Dorado Police Department is still investigating the unsolved murders of Rodney Hart, 36, and Octavius Critton Jr., 18. The frustration over the violence doesn’t end at shootings, it’s also inclusive of robberies and other crimes.

Many older locals believe crime has overtaken the younger generation. Rucks grew up in the streets and understands the struggle but stealing, killing and doing drugs isn’t the right avenue to true freedom.

He grew up without a father and as he describes “the project setting” at Haygood Neal Apartments.

“Once we got out there in the real world we started hustling to make some money because we didn’t have any,” he said. “We grew up poor and on food stamps and government assistance.”

He later went to college after graduating high school and studied business management. It was there when he realized the street principles were very much similar to the real world business model.

“When I was in college I was in classrooms seeing that the same principles that I sold drugs they were using the same marketing principles in the legal business,” he said. “I started realizing it’s no different. If I can buy a product cheap and put it out there and market it then people will buy.”

“The game of business doesn’t change. We just want to let people know if you take a chance and get over into a legal business you will feel so free. You won’t be a criminal. You won’t be doing things against the law. You’ll have a sense of peace at night and you’ll know you’re on the right side of the law.”

That’s why he believes change on the streets starts with the education youth receive in and outside of the classroom.

Before the pandemic, he would read to students in the elementary schools and teach them the same entrepreneurial mindset.

“Something my auntie always told me you can bend a twig when it’s little but once it gets grown up big enough then you’re not going to be able to bend it,” he said.

Rucks knows it’s going to take more than just the school system to educate the kids. He wants to start teaching classes and even having a conversation with local school districts about how students are being taught.

“Your vote and your dollar is what runs the country,” he said. “The curriculum that is being taught is really producing capitalistic youth that’s going to teach them about the business side of America. We’re teaching them a socialistic program.”


El Dorado Police investigating weekend shooting that killed one

EL DORADO, Ar. — The El Dorado Police Department is investigating a shooting that left one person dead over the weekend.

According to police, the shooting occured on Sunday, June 14, at approximately 9:12 PM. Officers were called to the 2300 block of Helena Street regarding gunshots heard inside a home. While officers were en route, 911 operators received a second call about a female knocking on a neighbor’s door for help.

When officers arrived on scene, they noticed a shattered glass storm door in the carport of the home. Officers found 25-year-old Xavier Thrower, of El Dorado, lying on his stomach. When officers turned Thrower over, they found what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to his stomach. Medics transported Thrower to be treated, but he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.

At this time, police say that there are persons of interest but their names cannot be released.

If you have any information regarding this incident, please call the El Dorado Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 870-881-4810 or Crime Stoppers at 870-863-4636(INFO).

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