ROCKINGHAM — Two men were awaiting extradition to South Carolina Monday, charged with a non-fatal shooting in Cheraw.
Police responded to a call of shots fired at the Alco store just after 9 p.m. on July 4, according to Cheraw Police Chief Keith Thomas. He said initially, first responders thought 44-year-old Antwone Johnson had been shot twice, but they later discovered he had been shot four times, all in the abdomen area.
According to Thomas, several eyewitnesses told investigators that there had been a verbal altercation between two young men and the victim before one of the pair brandished a gun and opened fire, sending Johnson to the ground.
The suspects, who fled on foot, were identified through witnesses and video surveillance footage as 21-year-old Shareef Ali Kelly, of Cauthen Drive, Rockingham and 18-year-old Deandre Malaike Byrd, of Coble Road, south of Rockingham.
Investigators say that Kelly initially had the weapon but handed it off to Byrd, who is accused of actually pulling the trigger that sent Johnson to the hospital with a fractured pelvis.
Thomas said once it was learned the two were from the Rockingham area, he contacted the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
Rockingham police say Kelly was arrested at a residence in East Rockingham and Byrd turned himself in last week.
The two were each charged with one count of attempted murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Thomas said the latter charge carries a 10-year sentence and cannot run concurrent to any other charges.
Richmond County Jail records show both men signed an extradition waiver on Monday.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division also assisted in the investigation.
“We really appreciate all the assistance we received in this case from all of the agencies in North Carolina, especially Maj. (Edward) Grant and the Rockingham Police Department,” Thomas said in an email. “They were instrumental in helping get these suspects identified and also located.”
Online records with the N.C. Court System and N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction show neither Byrd nor Kelly have any other pending charges or past criminal convictions in the state.
OTHERS AWAIT EXTRADITION
A Hamlet pair is also awaiting extradition for crimes allegedly committed south of the border.
Jail records show Linda Gail Vuncannon, 40, of Buttercup Drive, and Shawn Griggs, 36, are facing charges of robbery, common law robbery, strong-arm robbery and kidnapping in Horry County, South Carolina.
No information was available from the Horry County Police Department on Monday.
Court records show Griggs is also facing misdemeanor charges of sexual battery, resisting a public officer, two counts of simple assault, second-degree trespassing and larceny in Richmond County.
Griggs formerly served time in 2014 on felony and misdemeanor drug charges in Moore and Richmond counties, records show. He has also been convicted of breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods.
Vuncannon was convicted in 2013 of violating the school attendance law.
All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
TODDLER FINDS POWDER
A Richmond County mother was appalled last week when her 3-year-old son found a bag with a powdery substance in a restaurant bathroom.
Tiffany Freeman said she was in Biscuitville and went with her son to the bathroom when he picked up a small bag from the toilet paper holder and said, “Here.”
“I then took it from him and went straight to the front,” she said.
Freeman said some of the white powder — which she believed to be cocaine — got on her hands and those of the manager when she flicked the bag on the counter.
Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly said the manager called to report the find, but when the officer arrived there was nothing but dust inside the bag.
Kelly said a swipe test was performed on the dust, but it tested negative for cocaine. He added since there was no substance left in the bag, further tests were unable to be performed.
No charges were filed.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.