Arkansas man pleads not guilty to murder charges for mass shooting at grocery store

CAMDEN, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas man accused of killing four people and injuring 10 others, including two police officers, in a mass shooting at a grocery store pleaded not guilty Tuesday to multiple charges connected to the attack.

Appearing in court for the first time, Travis Eugene Posey, 44, pleaded not guilty to four counts of capital murder and ten counts of attempted capital murder for a shooting last week at the Mad Butcher grocery store. A judge ordered Posey held without bond.

Police have not identified a motive for Posey, 44, who was shot and injured by officers who exchanged fire with him. Police have said he did not appear to have a personal connection to any of the victims. Gregg Parrish, the executive director of the Arkansas Public Defender Commission, represented Posey at the brief hearing.

Posey spoke briefly at the hearing to say Parrish had explained the charges to him, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The judge did not schedule Posey's next court appearance.

After the hearing, Parrish said he has been speaking with Posey's family, who he said were “devastated" for the people grieving.

“They hurt for the victims and their families in this matter, and they're just so saddened by the events that took place,” Posey's attorney told The Associated Press.

Posey on Friday carried a 12-gauge shotgun, a pistol and a bandolier with dozens of extra shotgun rounds, authorities said. He fired most, if not all, of the rounds using the shotgun, opening fire at people in the parking lot before entering the store and firing “indiscriminately” at customers and employees, police said. Multiple gunshot victims were found inside the store and in the parking lot, police said.

The shooting occurred in the middle of the day in Fordyce, a city of about 3,200 people located 65 miles (104 kilometers) south of Little Rock.

It was at least the third mass shooting at a U.S. grocery store in the last three years. In 2022, a white supremacist killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket. That came a little more than a year after 10 people were fatally shot at supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.

Posey lived in New Edinburg, a small town of about 150 people located southeast of Fordyce.

Authorities have said Posey had limited to no criminal history, though he was arrested in 2011 at the entrance of Fort Drum in New York and charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon. Posey said he was a truck driver attempting to make a delivery when he voluntarily told police at the gate he had an unloaded pistol, according to New York State Police. Posey ultimately pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $200 fine.