SHARPSBURG, N.C. — Four people are charged in a fatal home invasion in Nash County, and the incident occurred near the Sharpsburg Police Department.
Investigators say on Monday night two men wearing masks, one with a shotgun, burst through the door of Canan Williams' home.
"He fired off one shot. After he fired the first shot, I tried to grab the gun because I didn't want anyone to get hurt," Williams said.
Investigators arrested Robert Lewis, Jerry O'Neal, Kimberly Smith and Nezar Yarborough. Detectives believe one of the suspects shot and killed Williams' cousin, 26-year-old Derek Smith.
"He's the closest thing to a brother I ever had," Williams said.
The shooting happened just a mile from the police department. It is another example of what some residents call a growing crime problem in the community. They blame a dwindling police department that has gone from nine full-time officers to three since December because of budget constraints and resignations.
Town spokesman Victor Marrow admits it is a problem. He said the town hopes to fill those positions soon.
"Well, we're providing as much safety as we can," he said.
For now, Sharpsburg relies on help from reserve officers and deputies from surrounding counties.
"We're going to help if we can, Anytime you lose officers, it's going to cut down on your visibility," said Nash County Sheriff Dick Jenkins.
All four suspects are charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. They are currently in the Nash County Jail without bond. Family members said Smith is survived by a 4-year-old son.