Local News

Jury convicts suspect in hit-and-run rampage

Posted March 17, 2010

— After four days of deliberation, a Cumberland County jury found hit-and-run rampage suspect Abdullah El-Amin Shareef guilty of 10 charges, including first-degree murder and attempted murder, for a hit-and-run rampage that encompassed parts of three counties in 2004.

Shareef, 31, of Raeford, will be sentenced on Thursday. He faces the death penalty.

Abdullah Shareef in court Hit-and-run rampage suspect found guilty

Authorities said Shareef stole a city-owned van in Fayetteville on April 14, 2004, hit and injured three men – Robert Fortier, David McCaskill and Gary Weller – in Fayetteville, then ran over Lonel Bass in Linden, killing him. Shareef abandoned the van, took Bass' pickup truck and continued north, authorities said, running down Seth Thompson in Harnett County before crashing the truck in Fuquay-Varina, where he was arrested.

Jurors found Shareef guilty of the first-degree murder of Bass. He was found guilty of the attempted first-degree murders of McCaskill and Weller.

Shareef was found guilty of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury stemming from his attacks against McCaskill and Weller.

Jurors found Shareef guilty of misdemeanor assault with deadly weapon against Fortier, but not guilty of the attempted first-degree murder of Fortier.

In addition to the murder and assault convictions, Shareef was also found guilty of two counts of felony possession of a stolen vehicle and felonious larceny.

Shareef showed little reaction when the verdict was read. Victims and their family members hugged and cried following the verdict.

Shareef pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His attorneys have said he suffered from untreated paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the crimes.

Psychologists who evaluated Shareef shortly after the incident testified during the three-week trial that he was psychotic.

But prosecutors argued that Shareef made "conscious decisions" during the incident, running down men who were by themselves and then fleeing to avoid arrest.

Shareef's family and friends say the jury’s decision ignored testimony from mental health professionals like Rashad Rahmaan.

Rahmaan, a friend of Shareef's family, testified during the trial that he tried to get Shareef evaluated at a mental health facility in Hoke County, but the rampage occurred while Shareef was waiting for his appointment.

Rahmaan said the conviction should bring condemnation for the state's mental health system.

“Yeah, he’s guilty, he did that. I’m not saying he didn’t do that,” Rahmaan said. “I feel sorry for the families that were affected by this. Personally, I’m more disappointed in the mental health system.”

Authorities said Shareef will likely not be tried for the attempted murder of Thompson. The offense occurred in Harnett County.

"They made the right decision . It's been so long. I'm OK, but this has been so hard on the others, especially the Bass family. This couldn't have happened to sweeter people," Thompson said Wednesday after the verdict delivered.


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  • time4real Mar 17, 2010

    jury "convicts", man, I bet that was a tough one!

  • OakRapp Mar 17, 2010

    All you folks who want to string him up just remember you're only a couple tenths of a percent of certain brain chemicals away from being in the same shoes. You could suffer a tiny change in your brain tomorrow and start thinking the driver of the car in the next lane was a zombie trying to eat your brains. Insane often doesn't mean inability to function, just that some of the conclusions you reach seem highly irrational to the rest of us.
    I've known mentally ill people who were perfectly capable of driving a car but unable to distinguish physical reality from what they knew in their heads. Our dismantling of the mental health care system in NC will mean more incidents like this as seriously ill people get shoved into the street without the care they need.

  • ImtheBadGuy Mar 17, 2010

    Here's a short list of people deemed psychotic who were either executed or awaiting;Ted Bundy,John Wayne Gacy,Albert Fish,Richard Ramirez*,Charles Singleton,just to name a few.Shareef needs to join them.

  • dmanka Mar 17, 2010


  • mjlt3 Mar 17, 2010

    He might be "crazy" and "mental illness " is a disease but he had enough sense to crank up a vehicle and after crashing run.... He had that much sense!!!! I personally, think he should be put at the bottom of a cage!!!

  • w1will Mar 17, 2010

    It doesn't matter if he is insane or not. It DOES matter that he has killed people. Anyone have a rope handy?

  • nic Mar 17, 2010

    I love how posters on here can determine whether he was psychotic or not. How many of you have ever actually met this man? Yes people do abuse the not guilty by reason of insanity plea and try to act crazy. I'm glad he's off the streets, but he should be in a forensic maximum security ward for the criminally insane, not the prison. If you ever met this man you may change your mind about him trying to look psychotic or act mentally ill. Not saying he shouldn't be punished because he should, but he is truly mentally ill.

  • MillerB Mar 17, 2010

    andtoto2- While I understand, and agree with the intent of your comment, the biggest problem is that too many ambulance chasing lawyers absolutely abuse the "mental illness" defense in order to make a quick buck by getting their clients off of the charges against them.

  • bluegrass Mar 17, 2010

    Now if we could just get him up on an oak tree in the town square.

  • andtoto2 Mar 17, 2010

    Before anyone feels the need to get on a soapbox for what I'm about to say--let me start by saying I am thrilled that this man is off the streets & no one is denying that what he has done is horrific. My only wish is that more people would open their minds to try to understand even the tip of the vast iceberg of mental illness!!! Just because you don't see an injury or the symptoms of a physical illness, does NOT mean it doesn't exist! I also can't think of anyone I know, who has ever sat on a jury, that "fell for" an insanity plea.