Local News

Suspect sought in fatal Sampson racetrack shooting

Posted July 5, 2010

— Sampson County deputies were searching Monday for a gunman in a Sunday night shooting at a rural racetrack that left one dead.

Authorities said Timothy McKoy, 29, of Garland, and another man began arguing at Harrells Raceway at about 6:30 p.m. when the other man pulled out a gun and began firing. McKoy was shot three times and died at the racetrack, and the gunman fled the area.

Between 200 and 300 people were at the track at the time of the shooting.

Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said authorities believe they know who the gunman is, but he declined to provide a description or identity.

Harrells Raceway in Sampson County Sheriff says Sampson racetrack needs more security

The incident was the second time in two months that authorities were called to the track, at 3030 Buckhorn Road.

In May, a spectator was killed in the stands and another injured by debris from a wreck during a drag race.

Harrells Raceway is privately owned and isn't sanctioned by the International Hot Rod Association or regulated by the state.

Thornton said his deputies don't get many calls to the private racetrack, and he hasn't heard complaints about it from the community.

"All in all, it's been a pretty controlled crowd," he said.

Edward Murrell, who lives near the racetrack, said that spectators are usually low-key, even amid the high-octane action on the track.

"No rowdy crowds, no nothing. Most times, it's very peaceful," Murrell said.

Still, Thornton asked track owner Eddie Yarborough on Monday to beef up security. Off-duty deputies don't provide security at events where alcohol is served on the premises, which is the case at the racetrack, because of potential liability issues.

"It looks like it may be necessary, and they said they had discussed that prior to me asking the question," the sheriff said.

Yarborough couldn't be reached Monday for comment.


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  • rhowerton Jul 6, 2010

    The coward shot him in the leg, left came back killed him.I Think It is Taking To Long For The Arrest.

  • robjustrob Jul 5, 2010

    This is just awful. It would seem to me that if someone draws on you, that is the time for an armed response in self defense. But to leave the scene and return armed for retribution, that changes the whole complexion of things, if indeed that is what happened.
    You'd think if the establishment permits consumption of alcohol on the premises, they would bar concealed weapons. The two just don't mix well, like drinking and driving. With that many people under the influence, more guns sure isn't the answer.
    Between the flying bullets and the flying car engines, I'd say it'd be safer not going to that track at all. Or wear kevlar and a crash helmet at least.

  • itsmyownopinion Jul 5, 2010

    "Gun's need to be used for protection."

    Who was protected in this case? Had neither had a gun at the race, we can assume both would still be alive.

  • rhowerton Jul 5, 2010

    Gun's need to be used for protection.

  • rhowerton Jul 5, 2010

    McKoy pulled gun but did not shoot, the coward shot him i the leg came back and killed him intionally. 1st degree murder

  • geosol Jul 5, 2010

    Now see, if only more people had more guns and this kind of thing wouldn't happen.

  • 1RN2B Jul 5, 2010

    McKoy didn't shoot first...he just pulled a gun. And I agree that the retaliation shooter should be charged with murder.

  • rhowerton Jul 5, 2010

    I Think The Retalation shooter should Be Charged With 1st Degree Murder. He Came Back intention to Shoot Again. If Mckoy Did shoot first , the shooter still shot him in the leg & came back & killed him. U need to Have been there as a witness to know the truth. I won't say the shooter's name because they may not have him yet, but his drunk hot head did not have to come back and kill McKoy. Why didn't he stay at the track if McKoy shot first. "Truth will reval"

  • rhowerton Jul 5, 2010

    Drinking or not they should have security anyway. Holiday's extra security. This Track need's ATTENTION before another life is taken. i hear bad stuff all the time about this track. The owner is not operating this track with 100% security.it is sad when this stuff keep's u from going with family to have fun. They know who the shooter is so mayby he will be caught shortley if not already caught

  • 1RN2B Jul 5, 2010

    My friend was actually at the raceway when this very say incident took place. It seems that McKoy pulled a gun first. The killer came back with intentions of retaliation. Then, fired into the air to warn by-standers first. Your not safe anywhere anymore :(