• 2 women found dead, suspect killed in shootout after barricading himself, hostage in home for hours

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    HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. - An Arkansas man was shot and killed hours after barricading himself inside a home with a hostage and firing gunshots at police officers, according to officials.

    Helena-West Helena police confirmed to FOX13 that the suspect was pronounced dead at a home in the area of North Washington Street and Bonanza.

    PHOTOS: Man barricaded inside Arkansas home with hostage, continues to fire shots at officers

    According to Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Smith, the man was barricaded inside the home from 4 p.m. to around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

    Smith confirmed that Williams and state troopers exchanged gunfire around 10:10 p.m. and the suspect was killed.

    Police said when officers initially responded to a shooting in the 200 block of North Washington Street, two women were seen lying in the front yard. 

    But officers were unable to get to them because the suspect -- identified as Raymond Williams Jr., 37 -- pointed a rifle at them and threatened to shoot them. 

    When emergency responders were able to reach them hours later, investigators said Christina Fulmer, 40, and Deanna Thomas Banks, 28, both of Helena-West Helena, were both pronounced dead at the scene.

    According to police, one of the victims was getting out of her car with her coworker when Williams confronted them. 

    Police said he had words with the women, went inside his home and got his gun. That is when Williams allegedly shot and killed the two women and barricaded himself inside.

    A witness said he was working at a nearby mill when officers told him to evacuate. As he was leaving, the man told FOX13 he saw what looked like a "video game" because of the blood and bodies on the ground.

    "It was real bad, I saw blood coming out the back… all that," said Marcus Tate. "I'm used to seeing it in California, but to come back to my hometown after 13 years, that's a different thing."

    Smith told FOX13 that Williams continuously fired shots with a rifle at officers in the area once the barricade situation began. Williams also had a hostage inside the home, but that person has not been identified yet.

    Officials have not specified what caused the man to barricade himself, and it is unclear what happened to the hostage that was involved.

    Officials confirmed that SWAT teams, state troopers and a bomb squad were all called in to assist in the situation.

    According to Mayor Kevin Smith, Arkansas Highway Patrol and deputies with the Phillips County Sheriff's Office were all on scene assisting.

    The mayor told FOX13 the city also had a safety perimeter in effect, and six roads surrounding the home were blocked off as authorities tried to defuse the situation.


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    Police told FOX13 authorities began to negotiate with the suspect, Raymond Lewis Williams around 9 p.m. in an attempt to get him out of the home. However, those attempts were unsuccessful.

    Once the peaceful negotiations stalled, investigators said state troopers and SWAT team members deployed flashbang grenades into the home. That is when Williams exited the home and exchanged gunfire with SWAT. 

    Williams was shot by authorities and pronounced dead at the scene.

    Police told FOX13 Williams was dealing with mental health issues. 

    FOX13 crews noticed graffiti inside the windows of his home, and investigators said those images are some of the tell-tale signs that Williams had a mental condition.

    There was an awkward collection of drawings on the walls. The police chief described the inside of the home as an odd situation.

    Below is a full statement from the mayor following the deadly barricade situation:

    "The situation on Washington Street in West Helena has concluded. The suspect was shot in an exchange with the Arkansas State Police, and has been reported as deceased. Two other homicides have been reported from the incident that began earlier today. At this time no other shootings have been reported. It is still an active scene and investigation and I will defer any other questions to Chief Smith and the Arkansas State Police. I also want to thank Chief Smith, the ASP, and all of the many law enforcement  agencies for their assistance today."

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