Helena-West Helena imposes curfew, asks for help after homicides

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — The police department and mayor’s office will start to implement a new juvenile curfew and emergency 24-hour city-wide curfew after a string of shootings in Helena-West Helena.

For a small town that averaged less than one homicide per month this year, three homicides in one weekend has both police and residents in shock. Authorities are asking residents for help as multiple suspects remain at large in connection with the shootings over the weekend.

"The whole entire city is in an uproar right now," Police Chief James Smith said. "We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to deal with this due to the small resources that we have.”

With two homicides on Friday morning, and another on Saturday night, police described a “war” going on in the streets, but they’re not sure its gang-related.

"People on social media, which has been one of the biggest problems in our community, people on social media are trying to find resolutions in arguments,” Smith said.

One suspect, 19-year-old Tre’von Hill, was arrested Sunday, but two more suspects are wanted, and there’s potential for more as police continue to investigate.

In the meantime, Smith said, “Our streets are dangerous right now. We want to do as much as possible to make sure that our citizens here in Helena-West Helena are safe.”

Police say the 24-hour emergency curfew is designed to discourage loitering and cruising the streets late at night.

Police also ask that if residents know any useful information, don’t be afraid to reach out to the police department at (870) 572-3441.

"If you can’t trust your police department, there’s a problem there in itself. And we want to assure them that we’re here to make our city a little safer than what it has been,” Smith said.

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