Woman killed in Helena-West Helena; bullet narrowly misses sleeping man

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — A 41-year-old woman was shot and killed standing outside a neighbor's home Thursday morning in Helena-West Helena.

The location in the 1100 block of Cherry Street is blocks down from where the King Biscuit Blues Festival is happening.

The victim was identified by police as Freda Williams, a grandmother and mother of five, according to her daughter.

Police say she was found bleeding on the lawn outside the home after neighbors heard several shots fired.

Eugene Cook said a bullet tore through his bedroom window and through his headboard inches from where he was sleeping.

He said the force from the bullet knocked over the pillow his arm was resting on, but said that although he heard the gunshots, he hadn't realized they'd come so close until several hours later.

"God saved me that's the only thing I could think. God was watching out for me," Cook said.

The shooting comes on what was already a busy night for Helena-West Helena police.

When police were called to Cherry Street they were already investigating a nearby shooting that had happened two hours before.

"We were investigating another shooting just right around the corner about a block away," Lt. John Bailey said.

Cook said he heard different gunshots outside his house about two hours before that shooting.

Police are thinking more than one person killed Williams and that one of them used an assault-style weapon.

"We picked up two different shell casings, so that's telling me there was at least two guns," said Bailey.

But that doesn't answer the question on so many people's minds in a tight-knit community where Williams' family said she was well-known and liked.

"I don't see no reason why she got shot. I see no reason why anybody would harm a woman," Cook said.