Two former Republican state Senators have been found shot and killed in their homes this week.
Former Arkansas state Senator Linda Collins-Smith, 57, was found dead in her home a few days after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. According to CBS News, her death is being investigated as a homicide.
Collins-Smith was a Democrat before switching to the Republican Party. She was elected to the Arkansas Senate in 2014 and lost her party’s primary last year, the Little Rock TV station said.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was shocked by her death and expressed his condolences to her loved ones.
The second republican lawmaker found dead this week is former Oklahoma state Senator Jonathan Nichols. He was found dead in his home on Wednesday, and a gun was found across the room on a table, according to The Oklahoman.
Sources say police responded to a report of an individual with a gunshot wound around 8:44 p.m. Wednesday. Inside, they found the 53-year-old Nichols deceased.
Nichols represented republican party in the Oklahoma Senate from 2000 to 2012, and had been a senior policy adviser to House Speaker Charles McCall at the time of his death.
“Sen. Jonathan Nichols was the most brilliant political, legal mind in the Oklahoma state Legislature, and worked tirelessly as a senator and for years on staff to help guide our state forward,” said state Sen. Rob Standridge, who succeeded him in Oklahoma’s District 15.
Authorities have not provided additional details on the apparently unrelated deaths. Investigations are under way in both states.