Student’s family seeks answers in 2002 death

Last updated: July 30. 2014 12:51AM - 5677 Views
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ROCKINGHAM — It’s been 12 years since former Richmond Senior star football player Walter Franklin Long and one of his neighbors were shot and killed in Long’s Salisbury apartment.


Today, the double-homicide remains unsolved and his younger brother wants to know why.


“I don’t think the police are doing all they can,” said Zack Long, who had recently turned 14 years old when his brother was killed on April 25, 2002.


“It gets me every year around my birthday,” which is March 31, he said. “That’s one of the hardest parts about it.”


In the early morning hours of April 25, 2002, police say Long was sitting in his Lakewood Drive apartment with his roommate, Andrew Johnson Womble, and neighbors Christopher Lee Isaac and Matthew Glenn Greear.


Police say one of the men got up to answer a knock at the door revealing two black men wearing black hooded sweatshirts, who both walked into the apartment, according to a report in the Salisbury Post.


One of the suspects, armed with a gun, then fired, shooting Long in the head, the newspaper reported.


Womble then ran into a side bedroom, jumped out the window and ran to a small patch of woods when he heard a second gunshot, then-Deputy Chief Mark Whilhelm told the Salisbury paper.


The Post reports that Issac also ran into the bedroom and held the door shut, jumping out of a window himself when he felt someone pushing at the door.


Long died at 9:25 a.m. at Rowan Regional Medical Center from his wound. Greear died at the scene.


Isaac and Womble both sustained cuts from jumping from the window.


Long — a 2001 graduate of Richmond Senior High — played football all three years at RSHS, was on the 1999 state championship team and the East-West All Star team. He joined the football team at Catawba College but was out on a back injury.


Greear and Womble were also football players.


The Salisbury Post reported that investigators found a small amount of marijuana at the scene and that police called the homicide a “drug-related assault.”


Zack Long doesn’t think his brother was selling or dealing drugs. “He couldn’t stand to take a pill,” he said.


He said it seems weird to him that the two men who escaped didn’t suffer more injuries after jumping through a second-story window.


“There’s stuff they’re not saying,” he said.


He also believes that the two survivors, Isaac and Womble, were the intended targets.


“I don’t understand what takes them so long to figure out who did this,” he said.


Long said he doesn’t think the case has been investigated thoroughly enough because his brother wasn’t from Salisbury.


“Dad’s not satisfied with the Salisbury Police Department,” he said. “We really want the SBI to jump in and take the case, but we don’t think they’ll do it.”


Salisbury Police Capt. Shelia Lingle, a spokeswoman for the department, said the investigation is still ongoing.


“If anything comes in new, it will be worked,” she said.


Lingle said more than 100 supplements have been added — some as recently as this year — to the case since detectives first opened the file.


“Anything new that pertains to the case, no matter how minor, we put it in,” she said.


A request for more detailed information on the case was not returned as of press time.


Lingle encourages anyone who may have information on the case, “no matter how minute,” to call the Salisbury Police Department at 704-638-5333 or Salisbury-Rowan Crime Stoppers at 866-639-5245.


Long said the family “just wants the case to be solved.”


Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.

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