Arkansas Democratic chairman shot at HQ dies

Other News Materials 14 August 2008 05:38 (UTC +04:00)

The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, Bill Gwatney, died in a hospital after being shot by a lone gunman at the party's headquarters in Little Rock, officials said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

His unidentified killer also died after a high-speed chase and exchange of gunfire with police. The motive for the shooting remained unknown.

" Arkansas has lost a great son, and I have lost a great friend. There is deep pain in Arkansas tonight," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Gwatney, 48, was a former state Senator and his shooting shocked the southern state and the Democratic Party establishment. As a state party chairman, he would have also been a "superdelegate" at the party's national convention in Denver later this month.

Local media reports said the gunman had fired three shots in Gwatney's office before fleeing the scene.

Former US President and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and his wife Sen. Hillary Hillary mourned the loss of Gwatney in a statement.

"We are deeply saddened by the news that Bill Gwatney has passed away," they said. Gwatney had been an early and enthusiastic supporter of Sen. Clinton's failed bid for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.