Local News

Tow-Truck Driver Shot While Hooking Up Car

Posted January 3, 2007

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— A tow-truck driver was in critical condition Wednesday after being shot on New Year's Day while trying to move an illegally parked vehicle.

William Corbett, 25, was shot when he tried to tow a car parked outside a business across from a nightclub at 2720 N. Church St. in Rocky Mount, police said. Witnesses said a large group of people left the club at about the same time Corbett was hooking the illegally parked car to his wrecker, and they surrounded him.

"A verbal confrontation ensued between the victim and the suspect concerning a vehicle being towed," said Capt. Martin McCoy of the Rocky Mount Police Department.

A store manager who witnessed the shooting told WRAL some people tried to pull the car off the back of the tow truck while others argued with Corbett.

One man in the crowd pulled a gun, shot Corbett in the chest and fled, McCoy said. Corbett's girlfriend, who was with him, witnessed the shooting but was unhurt.

James Taylor Jr., 24, of 717 Starling Way in Rocky Mount, surrendered to police Wednesday afternoon and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, police said.

Rescue workers rushed Corbett to a near by hospital, and he was airlifted to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville for emergency surgery.

Several surrounding business owners said they have had repeated problems with nightclub patrons parking illegally in their lots. That's why they hired Corbett, they said.

McCoy said the car being towed didn't even belong to Taylor.

"It was an isolated incident. We think tempers just flared," he said.

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  • donteventryit07 Jan 4, 2007

    Dclark, are you referring to the shooter being afraid for his life? You've got to be kidding. He was surrounded by a crowd of his friends. The victim only had his wife by his side. So if you want to talk about someone fearing for their lives, let's refer to William Corbett.

  • ladiip2 Jan 4, 2007

    Really what was the point, the shooter probaly didn't even know the owner of the car. I think people just don't value their freedom anymore. Now he has put himself in a position of jail time and the owner of the car still has his car, and he has matching braclets. I'm sorry for the tow-truck driver and hope that all turns out well for him. The world is bad when we are in that much danger just for doing our own j.o.b.

  • dclark Jan 4, 2007

    Maybe the guy was in fear for his safety, thats all of an excuse a cop needs to shoot and kill someone....

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Jan 4, 2007

    This is sad, but how are you blaming owners of surrounding business for the patrons of the nightclub? The police are not going to run everytime you call about someone's car on your property. They will tell you to call a tow truck (which these owners did.)

  • littleetoo Jan 4, 2007

    Some of you people out there need to get a life!We are talking about a man's life here.This man was doing his job,trying to take care of his family. Furthermore this JACKA-- is just a mean no account piece of trash that should never have been let back out on the streets. IT WAS NOT HIS CAR, HE SHOULD HAVE MINDED HIS OWN BUSINESS.chameleon iggy is right.Property owners have a right to say no parking on thier lots.IT'S THEIR PROPERTY!How would you like someone parking on your property while you were gone and come back to trash,broken bottles,who knows what,etc.If people don't take care of their own property who is?These clubs are not decent places,they're for the crimminals to hang out do drugs,destroy.they need a job!twiceacrook,how would you feel if it was a close member of YOUR FAMILY?This man is my family member and I'm quiet sure if he was close to you and you could see all the suffering this whole family is going through day by day you would have a different outlook on the situatit

  • gvmntcheese Jan 4, 2007

    I do not recall saying what the shooter did was right did I? No, I simply made the point that this issue could have been avoided all together. To have a lone wrecker driver perform his duties in the midst of such gang/drug/illegal activity as everyone proclaims is there is really irresponsible. Why do we have police? I do not defend the shooter at all but a little bit of police presence could have stopped this issue cold. To address the parking issue: If these property owers were that worried about what was going on after hours they could have taken many alternative approaches without endangering one single life. Anyone ever heard of chains, gates, fences? Oh but wait, that may take too much money, effort or responsibility to erect such an idea which is why we are really discussing this topic in the first place. Nice try guys, but the foul is on both sides of the gambit this time.

  • imindisbelief Jan 4, 2007

    Chameleon Iggy is right. Whether or not the businesses were open is beside the point. The club we are referring to is one of the biggest drug and gang infested clubs in Rocky Mount. It has had numerous citations for illegal activties. It is not like we are referring to a club where people park, walk inside the club, get back in their cars and leave. We are talking about heavy loitering, drinking, drug usage, etc in the parking lots. Can you NOW understand why business owners would not want these types of people hanging out in their parking lot?

    I think we need to focus on the points that Regina brought up.

  • NCbred77 Jan 4, 2007

    Taylor was charged earlier this year with possession of a firearm by a felon, resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a police officer. After serving five years in prison for an armed robbery conviction, Taylor spent a week behind bars last year after violating his 2004 release terms.

    The guy shouldn't have even be on the street and sadly this man doing his job could pay for it with his life. How many chances do violent criminals get to harm someone in our poor excuse for a justice system? Sadly if the victim lives this thug that shot him will be out in 5 more years with a chance to do the same thing or even kill someone.

  • highergame4me Jan 4, 2007

    With this incident, I think they should shut the nightclub down!!!!!

  • chameleoniggy Jan 4, 2007

    onceacrook - "...whats the big deal with these people parking over there? It is just pavement,"

    The businesses are not open, but the owners have the right to keep people from parking there, especially when the people parking there are littering and doing other illegal activities on the property. If something were to happen, the owners of these businesses would be held liable and the way today's society is, they would get sued by a club goer for something completely ridiculous. I don't blame them one bit for what they did. If the club doesn't have enough parking for it's patrons, they need to make other arrangements. So let's quit taking up for the shooter and blaming everybody else for what he did. He was charged earlier this year with possession of a firearm by a felon, resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a police officer. He should NOT have been out at a club shooting somebody, he should have been in prison.