When she finally stopped her Dodge Charger in the parking lot of a crowded JC Penney, she made the devastating discovery.
Acen King was in his car seat, bleeding from the neck.
Another shopper called 911.
“This little kid’s been shot,” the caller said, trying to relay information from frantic shoppers trying to perform CPR on the child. “He’s shot in the neck.”
King-Macon wails in the background as the dispatcher tries to get information about the wounded child.
“Acen has been shot!” the grandmother screams. “Oh my God!”
The shooting was reported just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Shackleford Crossings shopping center near the city’s western edge. The collection of stores has a Walmart on one end and a JCPenney on the other. On the last weekend before Christmas, it was crammed with holiday shoppers who witnessed the desperate efforts to save Acen.
The 3-year-old was pronounced dead at a children’s hospital a short time later. King-Macon and a 1-year-old who was in the car next to the child wasn’t hurt.
Later, King-Macon told responding officers about the case of road rage that left her grandson dead.
She was at a stop sign when a man pulled up behind her. He blew his horn, apparently to speed her up at the intersection. She honked back.
Then, according to the police report, the man got out of the car and approached. Without warning, he fired a single bullet into her car.
On the 911 recording, King-Macon said she believed the man had fired into the air. But the bullet had actually struck Acen.
The toddler’s death shook the city of Little Rock, which has seen two toddlers shot to death in less than a month.
Two days before Thanksgiving, a 2-year-old was fatally shot in the back seat of her mother’s car on South Harrison Street, four miles east of the scene of Saturday’s shooting, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Police Chief Kenton Buckner called the crimes “senseless.”
“This is about as frustrated as you can be as a public safety official, or just a plain citizen who’s sitting and watching this tonight, to think that these kind of things are occurring in our city streets,” he told reporters shortly after Acen’s death.
“When it involves children, especially kids that are this age, they’re very innocent. They can do very little to protect themselves. You would hope that as a community . . . that we’d do everything we can to protect them.”
Neither toddler killing has been solved.
Police have launched a manhunt for the person who killed Acen, although they had only a vague description — a tall black man in an older Chevrolet Impala. A reward totaling $40,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.
A group of ministers has demanded that the killer turn himself in — and that people who know something speak up.
“If you don’t say nothing, you’re just as guilty as the person that did it,” Pastor Terrance Long told Little Rock CBS-affiliate KTHV.
The gunman “had to be visiting someone in the neighborhood, and we need to know who that was,” Long said. “And we got calls out, and we got people on the street looking to find out. Because whoever he was visiting in that neighborhood, they have some answers.”