HAMLET — A suspect is in custody following a midday shooting on Thomas Street Tuesday morning.
Johnathan Lindsey Brown Jr., 29, of Brantley Avenue, was taken to the Hamlet Police Department for an interview, then went before a magistrate after police say he shot Travis Jenks.
According to Hamlet Police Chief Scott Waters, Brown was seen by witnesses fleeing the site of the shooting in a black Mazda that was later found parked in the driveway of his aunt’s residence on Brantley Avenue in the Briarwood neighborhood.
Waters said a search warrant was being written on suspicion the gun used in the shooting was on a bed inside the house, and that Brown temporarily evaded arrest by crouching in the bottom of a green car driven by a female.
Deputies from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Department provided backup as Hamlet police finished their work on Thomas Street. Brown was caught when the driver of the green vehicle was stopped at the end of Brantley moments later.
After the homeowner arrived on the scene and signed the search warrant, officers entered the residence and retrieved a .25-caliber handgun a her son’s bed. The son, 19, had been babysitting a small girl, said he was unaware of how the gun got into the house.
An investigation is ongoing as to the motive of the attack. Brown’s relatives, questioned at the residence on Brantley, said they were unfamiliar with Jenks and did not know how, or if, Brown knew him.
Brown was booked into the Richmond County Jail, charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill and possession of a firearm by a felon, Detective Lt. Dover said shortly after 5 p.m.
“He had a couple of outstanding warrants from Charlotte, but our bond from Hamlet was $250,000,” Dover said.
Jail records show Brown has failure to appear warrants in Mecklenburg County for speeding and driving while impaired. The combined bond on those charges is $2,500.
Dover said he was speaking to Jenks just before he was airlifted to an undisclosed hospital, but declined to comment on Jenks’ condition Tuesday night, pending an ongoing investigation.
Brown has several prior felony and misdemeanor drug convictions, according to records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction, as well as convictions for DWI and assault on a female.
This was the first shooting of the year for Hamlet, following several spurts of multiple shootings since May of last year.
All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
While awaiting the arrival of the search warrant, Waters said he didn’t expect this to happen when he started his day.
“But you never do,” he added. “It just seems like, I don’t know what’s going on, but we never really had a lot of stuff popping off during the daytime like it is now. It’s just unreal, you know. It used to be everything shooting-wise and robbery, most stuff happened at night. That was kind of when evil lurked. But now, it’s broad daylight and the middle of the day and it doesn’t matter anymore. This is the world we live in, I guess.”
Waters said that ultimately he was glad there were no kids who happened to be out playing at the time of the shooting.
“It worked out,” he said. “Hopefully everybody will be OK and we’ll preserve the evidence and everybody will have a day in court.”
William R. Toler contributed to this story. Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.