Weeks after an Arkansas man was shot to death, the victim’s family has gotten some solace in the fact that an arrest has finally been made.
Ernest Hoskins Jr., an employee of Raynell Industries, in Little Rock, was attending a lunch with three other workers at the home of their boss, Chris Reynolds. At some point during the luncheon, Reynolds aimed a .44-magnum pistol at 21-year-old Hoskins, fatally shooting him in the jaw.
Reynolds, who is 34, was arrested by Arkansas State Police and charged with first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the death of Hoskins.
Shortly after the shooting, Reynolds called police to report that he had shot the young Black man, who was working on a degree from the University of Phoenix, according to the family’s lawyer.
“We were concerned that he was questioned and was allowed to walk out of the police station,” said Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Hoskins’ wife and mother, in an interview with BET.com. Crump, who is also the attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin, added that the shooting took place on Nov. 9 and that a considerable amount of time had elapsed before there had been an arrest.
The shooting occurred shortly before a ceremony where Hoskins and his wife were to take their vows, coming some months after they were secretly married last July. His widow, Nikkisha, works as an Army specialist at Camp Robinson, near Little Rock. The couple had planned a large reception for Nov. 17.
“At the point where they should have been celebrating their wedding, when Nikki was supposed to be wearing her wedding dress, they were attending a funeral,” Crump said.
It is a case where race is playing a prominent role, also leaving many raising questions anew about the criminal justice system.
Hoskins’ mother, Monica Hoskins, believes there was a racial motive behind the length of time between the shooting and the arrest.
“I feel as though they were trying to hide something, like they want to sweep this under the rug,” she said, speaking in an interview with BET.com. “I feel that race has a lot to do with it.”
His widow said she is bewildered at the slow response to this case. “All I have wanted is to see them bring to justice the man who killed my husband.”
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(Photo: Ernest Hoskins Jr)