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Suspect surrenders in soldier's nightclub shooting death

Posted March 24, 2011
Updated March 25, 2011

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— A Fort Bragg soldier working as a bouncer was shot and killed early Thursday by a man he had asked to leave a nightclub, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

Witnesses said that Spc. Breon Joseph Smith, 28, asked two men who had become loud and boisterous to leave Congo's Latin Club, at 4350 Cumberland Road, at about 1:45 a.m., said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

One of the men threatened Smith, then got a gun from his car and shot Smith, Tanna said. Witnesses said people inside the club performed CPR until paramedics arrived, but they couldn't revive him.

Congo's Latin Club Suspect surrenders in soldier's nightclub shooting death

Kenneth Ronald Clark, 28, of 822 Opal Court in Fayetteville, surrendered to police Thursday evening and was charged with murder. He was scheduled to appear in court Friday morning.

Authorities haven't yet identified the second man who was asked to leave the club.

Cumberland County deputies have been called to Congo's Latin Club 16 times this year, including Thursday's shooting, Tanna said. Two of the previous calls involved gunfire, while others included an assault, two burglaries and loud music.

Yet, Calvin Keisler, who lives near the club, said he was shocked to hear of the shooting.

"(Club staff) go around the neighborhood to keep (patrons) from parking in people's yards and stuff like that," Keisler said.

Smith, a New Bern native, was a vehicle mechanic assigned to the 656th Maintenance Battalion at Fort Bragg. He served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Ieshia James, his sister-in-law, said he took the part-time job at the nightclub to support his wife and three daughters, an 8-year-old and 6-year-old twins.

"He was just always quiet. (He was) a good father, a good husband," James said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the sheriff's office at 910-313-1500.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • luvley137 Mar 29, 2011

    First of all I am so sorry for all the families that is involved. Let's not judge the book by its color!!! We was not there. I realize that people make bad decisions in their lives but that doesnt make them a monster. Im quite sure that whoever took this young mans life is sorry. But once again we wasnt there. Im sorry that the soldier daughters and wife is left without there father and husband as well as the Clark family could possibly be left without their son. Stop judging expecially the person that wrote he must be a democrat. It sad that even in the world that we live in now that there are still ignorant people out here. Peace!!!

  • carolinabred Mar 25, 2011

    When I heard that my cousin was shot and killed yesterday from reading this article, it really tore my heart to pieces. We grew up together and I looked up to him as an older brother. He even named one of his little girls after me as a token of how much he appreciated me being a part of his life. Now I'm left without my cousin Breon and my family devastated all because he was murdered for doing his job to support his wife and his girls. I hope that my cousin gets the justice that he rightfully deserves.

  • ArmySpouse Mar 25, 2011

    aclem628-Are you really sticking up for this criminal who got upset because he was being kicked out of a flipping bar mins. before closing, got a gun and killed a man? Spc Smith was my husbands battle buddy, friend and roommate while overseas. Clark threw him on the floor,then killed him. There are plenty of witness to tell you this. You can go on with your please feel bad for Clark...I dont think so. There are 3 little girls who will never have a daddy daughter dance, have their dad walk them down the aisle, or have their dad meet his grandkids. All because he was doing his job. Come on now. I do not feel sorry for him, I do not feel sorry for his family. He chose his actions. Spc. Smith had no way to protect himself. If Clark wanted to see his family, he would not have pulled a gun and killed an innocent person. I hope he gets the death sentecnce....I dont want my taxes to pay for him to rot in jail for killing a SOLDIER WHO PROTECTED THE VERY PERSONS FREEDOM THAT TOOK HIS

  • thebutchers Mar 25, 2011

    I used to live behind this place. I can honestly say it should have been shut down years ago. I mean the sheriff's dept has been called out 16 times THIS YEAR and its only MARCH. I personally called on more than one occasion after hearing gunfire. The sheriffs would come out, people would clear out and nothing would be done about it. It's my belief that somebody has a politician in their pocket at that place. It is no surprise that somebody died there, it's too bad it had to be a soldier. Maybe now something will be done about it.

  • tdavis061974 Mar 25, 2011

    Oh come on now ACLEM628- if the man didnt kill him why turn himself in........and there is a difference with his family and smiths....Smith's girl can not see there dad at all Clark family has vistations..........that is a bunch of bs to feel sorry for CLARK.....

  • uncw40oz Mar 25, 2011

    aclem628 - hate to tell you but just b/c you know someone doesn't make them a good person. Witnesses saw Clark threaten and actually shoot the victim, sorry but what defense do you or your friend really have? "Maybe they have the wrong person?" Then why did your friend turn himself in??? Some people have no clue!

  • aclem628 Mar 25, 2011

    First and foremost before you try to speak on K Clark know him personally he is not a bad person we don't know the full story so stop passing judgement and stop assuming you all know what happened. I am very sad for the family that lost their love one but K. Clark's family loss too his family will no long have their father around. But in my eyes innocent until proven guilty you never know it could have been the person who was with him that shot this man but no one knew his name. Lets let the courts decide his fate not people who don't know him or the situation. And the news doesn't always have it right he is not 28 so maybe they have they wrong person.

  • Raptor06 Mar 25, 2011

    Kenneth Ronald Clark doesn't sound Hispanic. This guy is just another Democrat

    RIP young man and fellow American patriot. My prayers go out to his family.

    Unfortunately, some of us are still obsessed with politics. I guess a republican has never killed anyone, so that's why it's so easy to make the association that this murderer is a "democrat." Why was this designation so important during this sad commentary about our failing society? We are Americans; we are expected to be better than this. By the way, not all blacks are democrats...I speak code language, too...it was my military job.

  • sarahsoandso Mar 25, 2011

    Deputies have been called to the club 16 times this year? It's only March, folks...

  • ajfuddermukker Mar 25, 2011

    I am sorry that this man lost his life, however, I also wonder if he had not been active duty at the time, just how much news coverage this story would have received?