State News

Lumberton 12-year-old shot by booby trap

Posted September 23, 2008

— A 12-year-old boy was recovering from a shotgun wound he sustained from a booby trap in an unoccupied house, authorities said.

Robeson County Sheriff Ken Sealey said Joshua Harold Locklear of Lumberton was shot in the side Sunday after he and a friend entered the house through an open window. The boy was wounded when he saw a box on the floor and tried to lift it.

Both boys ran outside after the incident. Joshua managed to run 100 yards before collapsing, his grandmother Retha Mae Locklear said Tuesday.

Joshua was listed in fair condition after surgery at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.

Six other devices were discovered in the house after police were called. All of the devices were dismantled with the help of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad. Joe Lenczyk, resident agent in charge of the Fayetteville office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said.

The traps were connected with fishing line to crude devices meant to hurt or kill anyone who tripped them, Lenczyk said. The shell that hit Joshua was filled with buckshot.

"We are looking at how those devices got there and who was responsible for putting them there,” Lenczyk said.

He said whoever set the booby traps could face federal charges because the traps would be classified as destructive weapons.

“There had to be something back there that they didn’t want people back there to know about,” Locklear said.

Police said there was no sign of illegal activity in the building.

“There were no drugs in the house that we could find at this time, but whether it was used at one time for a drug house, I don’t know,” Sealey said.

Sealey said the house hadn't been used in two years.

Lenczyk said ATF agents have interviewed the owner of the property, whose name has not been released. “We have no reason to believe the owner was responsible, but we haven’t decided that conclusively,” he said.

Lenczyk said there are six individuals who have access to the house, but it’s unclear whether the owner had knowledge of somebody planting the booby traps. The individuals are considered persons of interest.

The owner son’s is a member of the military and is another person of interest, Lenczyk said.


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  • ShareTheRoad Sep 23, 2008

    wow man, how about a good old fashioned lock and a NO TRESPASSING sign? i can't believe the brutality of comments and ill-wishers on WRAL. it shouldn't surprise me, but i guess it kind of does.

    how many of you people never wandered and went exploring when you were a kid, maybe even on private property? at least he wasn't getting stoned, packin' heat and bringing it to school like those fifth graders. he was just being a curious kid. nowhere does it say he stole anything.

    as teens, my friends and i would go out exploring these old houses that were condemned and ready to be torn down. there were some with keep out signs, some without. even as stupid teens, we stayed away from the ones with signs telling us to do so. i cant imagine being shot for rooting around exploring in an old, condemned house... much less by a booby trap! freaky!

    nice to see the state of the public mind here....its frightening. what is this world coming to?

  • teacher-mom Sep 23, 2008

    I am sure if the house was empty for two years there was no electricity. I do not think you can have a monitored system without electricity. The owner could have boarded up the windows and doors. Glad the boy is okay.

  • ljcs357 Sep 23, 2008

    they shouldn't have been in there

  • sweetsea Sep 23, 2008

    I am big on law and order. The kid had no business in there. But to rig a booby trap like that was nuts. Suppose this person's grandchild or child had wandered into the house not knowing about the booby trap and been seriously injured or killed. I will bet that thought never crossed their mind. This is a case of two wrongs.

  • sec Sep 23, 2008

    "he picked the box up"...TO STEAL IT!!!! Why the heck doesn't the news story explain that this 'child' was guilty of B & E? Young criminals are just as dangerous as older ones. Most of the area gangs recruit children as young as 7, and they carry guns. We have a right to defend our property.

  • teacher-mom Sep 23, 2008

    You need to stay off of other people's property. Whoever made that boobie trap was tired of people invading his/her property. That young man was lucky he was not killed. I think if a property has boobie traps, there should be signs posted to alert would be invaders. I know I have stopped and walked through abandoned houses. I like to look at different architecture. You should not make a habit of doing that I guess. I do not do it anymore because it is not safe.

  • zanerx Sep 23, 2008

    "It wasn't deadly force, The Theif was wounded, I hope he was charged with B&E. That is the problem someone always looking to blame people that have the right to protect their properties! dare107"

    dare107, dare I say that yours is one of the dumbest posts I have ever read? The house had been unoccupied for several years; if the owner (if that's who it was that planted the boobytraps) wanted to protect the property, locks and a security system would have been a better way to go, doncha think? Would you want a 12-year-old child killed in your house just to protect your stereo?

    Kids don't think the way adults do. When I was about 8 or 9 lots of kids went in and out of this abandoned farmhouse behind our neighborhood. We never thought of it as trespassing (although it obviously was). It was simply a house that had been abandoned for many years that had a lot of cool stuff in it. The kids in this case probably didn't think they were doing anything wrong or harming anyone.

  • legal chic Sep 23, 2008

    The Child should not have gone on the property, but should have been shot for it?

    I think investigating the property owner as to why he would need deadly "booby traps" in the house is the bigger question. Is there anything he is trying to hide?

    And shame on the people who are happy that a child was shot, regardless of the circumstances.

  • TheAdmiral Sep 23, 2008

    First degree attempted murder - traps like that are illegal.

  • Cristoforo Sep 23, 2008

    "Oops!" I gez that’ll teach em!