Local News

Spike in Shootings Prompts Police Action in Rocky Mount

Posted January 11, 2007

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— The fatal shooting of a tow truck driver on New Year’s Day was the eighth shooting within seven days in Rocky Mount and the second fatality. The spike in violent crime is a problem that police say must be addressed.

“It's a large concern for me,” said Police Chief John Manley. “I can't sleep.”

Police said William Corbett was shot by James Taylor Jr. across the street from a nightclub early on the morning of Jan. 1. Corbett died in the hospital on Wednesday. Taylor has surrendered to police in connection with the slaying.

Manley told WRAL the shootings are not connected, but highlight a major, growing problem of guns and drugs in the city.

“I would say most of the shootings are drug-related or drug-driven,” Manley said. “I think you're seeing the results of an ongoing problem that's been neglected for many years.”

Gene Scarborough owns a tree removal business in Rocky Mount. He said he’s had several vehicles and types of equipment stolen in recent weeks.

“To me, it's a tremendous concern,” Scarborough said. “It’s cost me between $15,000 and $20,000 since the month of November.”

Scarborough said he believes it’s all tied to out-of-control, drug-related crime, too.

Manley said his department is launching a major crackdown. He's added at least 10 police officers to each shift, and he said they will have a zero-tolerance policy on all crime and will be especially tough on weapons violations.

“Please note that the Rocky Mount Police Department is pushing back and we're not going to tolerate this here,” Manley said.

However, Scarborough said he doubts the crackdown will make a difference.

“I think, right now, it’s too late by several years,” he said. “It’s probably too little for the real problem.”

Scarborough is asking state representatives and the state Attorney General's Office to get involved.

Manley said he is talking with church leaders and local leaders. He believes the police can turn things around with help from the community.

“We're not going to let up,” Manley said. “We're going back to the way it used to be. Citizens are going to be safe, officers are going to be safe, and crooks are going to jail.”

For now, Rocky Mount plans to use its current staff of police officers, but Manley said local leaders will assess the situation and determine whether they need to hire more. Police are also planning a series of meetings to get the community more involved.

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  • donteventryit07 Jan 12, 2007

    The writer of this story should be more careful. William Corbett's shooting had nothing to do with drugs or being drug related as Chief Manley stated. No where does is state that William Corbett was the tow truck driver and he was shot for NO APPARENT REASON.

  • cpen87 Jan 11, 2007

    You ask yourself what is this world coming too. It is like people don't know how to solve problems the old fashion way but, they want to use a gun instead. Sometimes I wonder what these people are really thinking. You don't shoot people and they come back alive in most cases they die. Then the shooters act like they didn't mean to do it duh. It is like oh you got a problem just get a gun it solves all things well it doesn't. It only causes more problems. You don't just take one life but, you take others like a wife, a husband, a daughter, a son, etc. I say put the guns away and solve problems the old fashion way.