'Hero' Nurse Was Killed While Aiding Gunshot Victim During Arkansas Grocery Store Mass Shooting

“She died doing what she always does: helping,” says her father, Tommy Weems

<p>Callie Weems/Facebook</p> Callie Weems in her nursing scrubs with her 10-month-old daughter, Ivy.

Callie Weems/Facebook

Callie Weems in her nursing scrubs with her 10-month-old daughter, Ivy.

When gunfire erupted at the small town Arkansas grocery store on the morning of Friday, June 21, a nurse rushed to the aid of one of the fallen.

“Instead of fleeing from the obvious danger,” Callie Weems, 23, was fatally struck as she tried to render life-saving aid to another gunshot victim, Colonel Mike Hagar of the Arkansas State Police said at a press conference over the weekend.

“During the incident, we observed the very best and the very worst of humanity,” said Hagar, commending the young woman’s “selfless actions" during the mass shooting.

Weems — the mother of a 10-month old baby girl — was the third generation in her family to pursue a career in nursing.

“She died doing what she always does: helping,” her father, Tommy Weems, told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

<p>Ouachita County Detention Center</p> Travis Eugene Posey in mugshot taken June 21, 2024.

Ouachita County Detention Center

Travis Eugene Posey in mugshot taken June 21, 2024.

Related: 3 Dead, Multiple Others Shot at Arkansas Grocery Store, Police Say

The suspect, Travis Eugene Posey, 44 had “no personal connection” with any of the 14 gunshot victims, according to Hagar.

“It was just a completely random, senseless act,” he said.

The suspect will be charged with four counts of capital murder, with additional charges pending, Arkansas State Police said in a Sunday, June 23 press release. (His online booking record lists capital murder and attempted capital murder.) 

The suspect allegedly opened fire at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, Ark., around 11:38 a.m., according to Arkansas State Police.

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Exiting his truck, “he immediately began engaging victims in the parking lot” Hagar said, adding that “once inside he was firing indiscriminately at both customers and employees,” who Hagar called “targets of opportunity.”

Police arrived less than three minutes from the first shot and apprehended the suspect within less than five minutes, according to Hagar.

In that short time, 15 people — 12 civilians, two police officers and the suspect — were shot, according to police.

Ellen Shrum, 81, Roy Sturgis, 50, and Shirley Taylor, 62, also died from their injuries.

Of the surviving civilian victims — five women and three men ranging in age from 20 to 65 — five remain hospitalized, including one critically, as of Sunday, June 23.

<p>GoFundMe; Facebook (3)</p> Clockwise: Callie Weems, 23, Shirley Taylor, 62, Roy Sturgis, 50, and Ellen Shrum, 81.

GoFundMe; Facebook (3)

Clockwise: Callie Weems, 23, Shirley Taylor, 62, Roy Sturgis, 50, and Ellen Shrum, 81.

Fordyce Police Officer James Johnson, 31, was treated for a gunshot wound and released from the hospital Saturday night. Jacob Murry, 26 — of both the Fordyce Police Department and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office — was also treated “for minor injuries related to gunfire,” police said in a series of press releases.

The suspect — who sustained non-life-threatening injuries during a gunfire exchange with law enforcement — was treated and booked into Ouachita County Detention Center at 6:26 p.m. Friday, according to police and his online booking record.

<p>Ainsley Platt/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP</p>

Ainsley Platt/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

A court date has not been set, per his booking record, and it was not immediately clear if he had retained a defense lawyer.

Weems— who enjoyed riding horses in her spare time — was called “Woodrow” for the character of the same name in the Western book and TV series Lonesome Dove, her father told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

About an hour before gunfire broke out in the tight-knit Fordyce, Ark. community of some 3,200 people, Weems was texting with her mother, Helen Browning, the 53-year-old told the Associated Press in a phone interview over the weekend.

<p>Go Fund Me</p> Callie Weems, with her infant daughter, Ivy.

Go Fund Me

Callie Weems, with her infant daughter, Ivy.

In the text exchange, Weems told her mother excitedly that her infant daughter had finally let  her sleep in until 9 that morning.

“I bet you feel like a new mom,” her own mother responded in what would ultimately be their last conversation.

Browning, who now plans to raise her 10-month-old granddaughter, Ivy, told the AP that the little girl would grow up to “know that her mother loved her, and that she was the sunshine of momma’s eyes.”

Timber Harmon, a friend of Weems', created a GoFundMe page to help Browning with the cost of her funeral and Ivy’s future expenses.

Calling the young nurse “a phenomenal mom” and “a hero,” Harmon added on the campaign page: “She died trying to save someone else. What a special friend we all had!”

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