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Gentry restaurant shooting leaves one dead

by Randy Moll | November 16, 2021 at 7:56 a.m.
Westside Eagle Observer/RANDY MOLL Gentry's police chief, Clay Stewart (center), speaks with others at the La Huerta Restaurant in Gentry on Wednesday afternoon, following a shooting at the location.

GENTRY -- A shooting at a Gentry restaurant left one man dead and another on the run on Nov. 10.

According to a release from Gentry Police Chief Clay Stewart, his department was dispatched at approximately 11:03 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, to La Huerta Restaurant, located at 129 Fowler Street (just off Arkansas Highway 59) in Gentry, in response to a reported shooting.

According to Chief Stewart, when officers arrived, they found medical personnel already on the scene in the kitchen area and treating Fidel Mercado Reyes, 45, of rural Siloam Springs for an apparent gunshot wound to the back of the head. The shooting suspect, 21-year-old Martin E. Tavarez-Torres of Bartlesville, Okla., had reportedly already fled in a dark grey 2004 Chevrolet extended cab pickup, bearing Oklahoma license plate KPN-196.

The shooting victim was rushed by ambulance to the Siloam Springs hospital where he was later pronounced dead as the result of the gunshot wound.

Stewart said Reyes was an employee of the restaurant and had allowed Tavarez-Torres, who was just starting out as a cook at the restaurant Wednesday morning, to stay at his house

on Tuesday night. Stewart said they both came to work at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and the reason for the shooting was still unknown.

The Gentry Police Department, with assistance from neighboring agencies, quickly searched the immediate area but did not locate Tavarez-Torres. According to the release, precautionary steps were taken by contacting a nearby daycare facility, as well as city hall and the local school district. Gentry Primary School, which is located southwest of the restaurant near the railroad tracks which run behind the restaurant and apartments along Fowler Street, kept students inside for recesses as a precautionary measure.

A BOLO (Be On Look Out) was issued for the suspected shooter, the release states. Tavarez-Torres was believed to be armed with a 9mm handgun and possibly en route back to the Bartlesville, Okla., area.

Tavarez-Torres was apprehended late last Wednesday afternoon in the Fayetteville area and Gentry police were going to pick him up and transport him to the Benton County Jail, according to Stewart.

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