Arkansas police arrested two men Wednesday night on murder charges in the April 1 shooting death of an aspiring local rapper in East Waco.

McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. "Pete" Peterson signed arrest warrants this week charging Casey Wade Hughes, 21, and Justice Allen Stanford, 25, with murder, Waco police said. Police in Clinton, Arkansas, arrested Hughes and Stanford late Wednesday night outside a convenience store there, according to Van Buren County, Arkansas, jail records.

Waco police Officer Garen Bynum said investigators believe the pair are responsible for the death of Preston Jerome Scott, 29, a local rapper known as PJ OneEight. Scott was found April 1 near the intersection of Dallas Street and Carver Avenue with a gunshot wound to his back and pronounced dead that night at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center.

Keith Barrier, a longtime friend of Scott, said he was comforted when he got a phone call Thursday morning about the news of the two arrests. He said Scott's family and friends are still grieving, and he hopes they would find solace in the arrests.

"It does give me a lot of comfort, because it shows that people can't just kill other people and get away with it, innocent people at that," Barrier said. "No one deserves to get murdered like that."

Bynum said Hughes and Stanford will be brought back to McLennan County and that the investigation into Scott's death remains ongoing.

Police investigate fatal shooting in East Waco

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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