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Man Sought in Sampson County Homicide

Posted September 10, 2007

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— Sampson County authorities were searching Monday for a man in connection with a homicide investigation.

Victor Manuel Cruz, 19, was inside a mobile home at 51 Bid Lane at about 7 p.m. Sunday when a car pulled up outside and one of its occupants opened fire on the trailer, authorities said.

Witnesses told authorities that the gunman fled in a burgundy Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton later stopped a vehicle matching that description on North McCullen Road. Three men fled the vehicle on foot into some nearby woods.

One of the men returned to the vehicle and was taken into custody. But authorities released him after questioning, determining that he wasn't involved in the shooting.

A manhunt ensued for the other two occupants of the car: Jose Lopez Gonzales, 25, of 152 Keenan Weeks Road in Newton Grove, and a Hispanic male known only as "Junior."

Early Monday, deputies responded to a report of a break-in at 2626 Giddensville Road, and they found Gonzales hiding behind a nearby building, authorities said. He was charged with murder and was being held without bond in the Sampson County Detention Center.

Authorities were still searching for the man known only as "Junior." Anyone with information as to his identity or whereabouts is asked to call the Sampson County Sheriff's Office at 910-592-4141.


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