One police officer, two teens injured in weekend shooting

Feb. 24, 2014 @ 05:59 PM

A Sanford Police officer and two Lee County teenagers charged with attempted murder are recovering after an officer-involved shooting this weekend.

Sanford Police officers Josh Weldon and Chad McNeill were responding to a disturbance call outside a local community center near the intersection of Boykin Avenue and Fields Drive at 11:35 p.m. Saturday when they reportedly were shot at, according to Sanford Police Capt. Harold Layton. The disturbance call was unrelated to the shooting, according to Sanford Police Sgt. Vinnie Frazer, and he said there were no additional shootings reported.

The officers were fired on after they were approached “by several subjects on foot,” according to a police statement.

Weldon was struck in the upper thigh and transported to Central Carolina Hospital Emergency Room, where he was treated and later released, Layton said. McNeill was not injured.

“Upon being fired upon,” Layton wrote in the release, “two of the suspects were struck by officer gunfire, and they were transported to Central Carolina Hospital by personal vehicle.”

Darrell Naquan Hill, 19, of the 2900 block of Cameron Drive, Sanford, was charged with two felony counts of attempted murder, two felony counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm and felony possession of a stolen firearm Sunday. Hill was placed in Lee County Jail under a $500,000 secured bond after being treated for a shoulder and head injury at Central Carolina Hospital, according to the release.

RaHeem Tyvon Johnson, 18, of the 600 block of Scott Avenue, Sanford, was charged Monday morning with two felony counts of attempted murder, two felony counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm and felony possession of a stolen firearm after being released from UNC Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Layton said. He was placed in Lee County Jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

The shootings occurred outside of M.T. Burch Center, where more than 60 teenagers were gathered for a birthday party, said community center owner Milton Burch.

“We didn't know what was going on,” Burch said. “We were about to close, and we came out and were told shots had been fired.”

There was no drinking or drugs at the teenager party, he said.

“This is the first time this has happened near my facility,” Burch said. “I've never seen anything like this since I took over that building and cleaned it up. We hold community and church stuff, baby showers and receptions. We've never had any kind of trouble.”

Layton said both suspects had previously attended that night’s party.

Sanford Mayor Chet Mann said the city and the police department will work around the clock to address this and all violent crimes that occur within city limits.

“First of all, I am outraged and saddened by these events,” Mann said. “I feel for the community and for the police officers who are put into harms way during routine calls. As mayor, I want to do all I can do to bring the thunder down on these criminals. At the same time, I recognize the only way we are going to get to the bottom of this is by these neighborhoods helping us out and taking back their neighborhoods.”

McNeill, an eight-year police veteran, and Weldon, who was hired in 2011, were both placed on administrative leave, which is standard operating procedure, according to Layton.  The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has also been called in to investigate the shooting, he added.

SBI Southeastern District Special Agent Janie Pinkston Sutton confirmed her district was investigating the case, and N.C. Department of Justice Spokesperson Alexandra Mendoza said the department couldn't release any information regarding the shootings.

The last time a Sanford Police officer was shot in the line of duty was in 2009.