Bill Gwatney

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Bill Gwatney
Chair of the Arkansas Democratic Party
In office
2007 – August 13, 2008
Preceded byJason Willett
Succeeded byDavid Pryor[1][2]
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 19th district
In office
1993 – January 13, 2003
Succeeded byTerry Smith
Personal details
BornAugust 26, 1959
DiedAugust 13, 2008(2008-08-13) (aged 48)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Political partyDemocratic
ChildrenChristian and Chase

William A. Gwatney (August 26, 1959 – August 13, 2008) was an American politician who served as the State Chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.[3] He had previously served as a State Senator for ten years and as the financial chair of Mike Beebe's campaign for Governor of Arkansas in 2006. Gwatney was selected as a superdelegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, but was assassinated before the convention.[4]


On August 13, 2008, Gwatney was killed by Timothy Dale Johnson,[5][6] who entered Democratic Party headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, and shot Gwatney three times.[7] Gwatney was taken to a hospital, but died later that day.[8]

The gunman had said he wanted to speak with Gwatney about volunteering, but sidestepped his assistant when she said he was busy.[9] After the shooting, the gunman fled the scene in his truck and led police on a 30-mile (48 km) chase out of Little Rock.[9] Johnson was killed by police after a PIT maneuver forced him off the road into a field near Sheridan.[7][10] No motive was discovered, except Johnson quitting his job at a Target retail store earlier that day.[1][2]


The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) Athletic Department posthumously inducted Gwatney into their Hall of Fame during a ceremony prior to the tip-off of the men's basketball game vs. New Orleans on February 26, 2009.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Andrew DeMillo (2008-08-21). "Widow of slain Demo chairman to attend convention". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-08-25.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b Rob Moritz (2008-08-22). "Gwatney's widow to serve as superdelegate at Democratic convention". Arkansas News Bureau. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  3. ^ AP story Archived August 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Bill Gwatney, Ark. Dem. chairman, shot dead at 48". The Associated Press. August 13, 2008. Archived from the original on 18 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  5. ^ "Arkansas Democratic Chairman Gwatney Killed In Shooting". RTT News. 2008-08-13. Archived from the original on 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  6. ^ "Gunman wounds Ark. Dems' party chairman". The Associated Press. 2008-08-13. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  7. ^ a b Shaila Dewan (2008-08-13). "Gunman Critically Wounds Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  8. ^ "Arkansas Democratic chairman killed in shooting". CNN. August 13, 2008. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  9. ^ a b "Wounded suspect in Ark. shooting dies after chase". The Associated Press. 2008-08-13. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  10. ^ Max Brantley (2008-08-13). "UPDATE: Bill Gwatney shot;; assailant dead". The Arkansas Times. Archived from the original on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-13.

External links[edit]