Fayetteville, N.C. — A man who recently retired from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant was gunned down outside his home Monday night, police said.
Clifford Tatum, 50, was found shot in the front yard of his home at 1018 Abrams St. shortly after 8 p.m. Monday, police said. He was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where he died.
The shooting stunned neighbors and friends, who said Tatum lived on the street for more than two decades and had reared two sons there with his wife, who recently died of cancer.
"I can't believe it. Anybody you talk to down at the (Goodyear) plant, they'll tell you he was the nicest guy you'd ever meet," friend Lacy Smith said. "He's so humble. He's was a nice guy."
"(He was) happy every time you see him, had a smile on his face. He'd always be polite," neighbor Gregory Evans said.
Tatum recently retired from the tire plant, where he had worked for about 30 years, friends said.
Neighbor Daniel Fulks said he heard eight to 10 gunshots Monday night. Tatum's house was riddled with bullet holes.
"Usually, when he comes home from work, he goes in the house, and you don't see him anymore. (Monday), he just happened to be outside," Fulks said.
"I've never known him to have any problems with anybody. He worked every day," he said. "It's a shame for a good person (to die) like that. I hope they catch the person (responsible)."
Witnesses told police they saw a silver Mercedes in the area at the time of the shooting.
Police don't have a motive or information about a possible suspect. They described Tatum as "an innocent victim."
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1856 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-8477.