Authorities explain lack of charges in Cumberland shooting
Posted March 12, 2014
Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County authorities on Wednesday defended their decision not to press criminal charges in a Monday night shooting at a country club development that left two men wounded.
The shooting occurred in the 6800 block of Towbridge Road, in the Gates Four neighborhood, during an altercation between a food-delivery driver and an 18-year-old resident.
Investigators said Gerald Hinton Lord, 48, of Fayetteville, was delivering a carry-out order when he pulled into the wrong driveway, and Thomas Earl Jacobs asked him to get off of his property. The men exchanged words before Lord drove away, but he later returned and the pair began scuffling in Jacobs' front yard.
Ronnie Mitchell, the attorney for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, said the shouting match between the men might have included some racial slurs. Lord is black, and Jacobs is white.
Lord then pulled out a gun, and the two started wrestling, Mitchell said. Jacobs then body-slammed Lord, and the gun went off when he hit the ground.
Lord was shot in the arm, while Jacobs was grazed in the neck. Authorities haven't determined if a bullet hit Jacobs or the hot barrel of the gun touched his neck, Mitchell said.
No charges have been filed in the case, he said, because the gun went off accidentally and the wounds were not serious.
"In this circumstance, the only serious injury that appears to have occurred is to the perpetrator and not to the victim," he said. "That, of course, created some degree of confusion about what charges may be brought."
The Cumberland County District Attorney's Office is still weighing whether to file charges such as assault with a deadly weapon, assault by pointing a gun or trespassing, Mitchell said.