BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. — A 31-year-old man was found under his motorcycle in Blytheville late Thursday night, but police say his death was no accident.
Justin Harrison, who was known for his love of motorcycles, had been shot. He was dead before he reached the hospital.
His motorcycle crashed at the corner 9th and Chickasawba just before 10 p.m. But once at the hospital, police spotted the gunshot wound.
Some people who live near the crash site told police they heard gunshots and the sound of a motorcycle.
People who knew Harrison are baffled by what happened.
“Our loss is heaven’s gain. And that’s the way you have to look at it to get through it,” said Jenny Meacham.
Meacham said Harrison went to school with her daughter in nearby Gosnell and was like a part of the family.
“We’re good friends with his parents and family. And that dear sweet boy always brought laughter and fun into everyone’s life,” said Meacham.
Police first thought he died as a result of an accident, but after they found a gunshot wound, the case turned into a homicide investigation.
Michael Hudson co-owns JPR Auto Sales in Blytheville.
He learned about Harrison’s death Friday morning after the news was posted on Facebook.
“Oh, he had so many nicknames. I called him ‘wild boy’ ’cause he was so energetic. Some called him ‘half-pint.’ He had several names,” said Hudson.
Harrison ran a shop on Main Street close to Hudson’s car lot, where he repaired motorcycles and small engines. But Hudson said motorcycles were Harrison’s passion.
“Oh yeah, he had one nice, very nice motorcycle that he had tricked out, as you would say,” said Hudson.
Hudson remembers the last time he talked to Harrison, just after the man repaired his lawnmower.
“And he asked me about my mower, ask me how it was working. I said its still running, running just fine,” said Hudson.
Friday, family and friends came to look at the crash site, but they didn’t want to talk about the man’s death.
They were consoled by Pam Hicks, whose son Stevie Branch was one of three boys murdered in West Memphis in 1993. Hicks was visiting friends Thursday night across the street from where Harrison was found.
She watched as paramedics tried to revive the man.
“We kind of stood out here a little bit and just really prayed. We offered prayer for the family last night,” said Hicks.
She said since her son’s murder, she has dedicated herself to helping people cope with tragedy.
“My heart goes out to victims. It’s been 20 long years for me and I thank God in heaven that I’m still standing. And if there’s a death of a child or even like this young man last night this happened to, it’s tragic. Families have to go through a healing process. And I feel like it’s my calling,” said Hicks.
Anyone with information on what happened to Justin Harrison is urged to contact the Blytheville Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 870-762-0400 or the Cops hotline at 870-762-2677.