Local News

Police: Teen who shot Fayetteville vet did not act alone

Posted November 29, 2012

— Police said Thursday that they believe an 18-year-old charged in the weekend shooting death of a Vietnam War veteran in Fayetteville did not act alone. 

Terrane Kulaia Dukes, of the 700 block of Weiss Avenue, was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in the death of 67-year-old Wolfgang Joppich. 

According to police, Dukes shot Joppich in the chest Sunday night behind a Krispy Kreme on Tally Ho Drive. Joppich was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Dukes' mother, Daisy Davis, said an older man killed Joppich.

"He's been crying ever since. He was, like, 'Mom, it wasn't me,'" Davis said.

Detective Ronnie Hutchins of the Fayetteville Police Department wouldn't elaborate on how many other people might have been involved in Joppich's death, but he said "at least one" other suspect could have helped Dukes.

Joppich, who was known to frequent the area of Bragg Boulevard to feed feral cats, lived out of a van for years after growing up in Germany and serving in the Army for 16 years.

Davis said she and Dukes had seen Joppich around the area for years.

"I know he was a good man. That's how I know my son did not do anything to him," she said. "I know my son would not hurt him because we used to talk about him feeding the cats and how sweet it was."

In 2011, the Operation Inasmuch Christian ministry provided Joppich a home.

Hutchins said people in the community may have thought Joppich had money, and robbery was the primary motive for Sunday's shooting.

"He was clean cut, neat and had his own vehicle," Hutchins said of Joppich. "I didn't know he was homeless. I thought he was a volunteer (at Inasmuch). A lot of people in the community thought he had money."

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Operation Inasmuch Executive Director Sue Byrd said Thursday that Joppich made friends easily and was a blessing to hundreds of people in Fayetteville's homeless community.

"We're so grateful to the community, and we pray it's going to end really soon," she said. "We grieve for this 18-year-old. We don't know him, but we grieve for him because his life will be different from now on. We forgive him, because Wolfgang would."

Hutchins credited the dozens of tips investigators received from community members, saying they helped them find and apprehend Dukes quickly.

"This is a prime example of when the community and law enforcement come together, that arrests can be made quickly," he said. "I still need the help from the community. There are people out there who know who the other suspects are. It's still ongoing."

Dukes visited Operation Inasmuch in July, Byrd said, and she attended his first court appearance on Thursday afternoon.

"We need people like us to stand beside a kid who thinks he's a thug and say, 'I will watch every step you make. I will stand beside you, and I'll be here for you,'" she said. "Why aren't we as a community taking on these kids? ... That's why we show up (at Operation Inasmuch) every morning, because we've made a commitment."

The organization will hold a memorial service for Joppich as soon as possible at the Westminster Presbyterian Church on Village Drive, she said.

Anyone with information about Joppich's death is asked to call the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1856 or Crime Stoppers at 910-483-8477.

48 Comments

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  • Bartmeister Nov 30, 5:41 p.m.

    spineless cowards without the courage of their convictions. piene2

    =========================================

    You would know about that if anyone would. Your opinion is similar to the National Debt, always changing and getting worst by the minute. Nobody even knows what you believe in, cause it constantly changes. It's amusing actually. The epitome of failure in this country. Have a great evening!

  • airbornemonty Nov 30, 12:19 p.m.

    Anyone that will kill someone in cold blood deserves no pity from me or anyone else.

    Terrane seems to be the shooter and as far as I am concerned its too late to cry on your mother's shoulder, you should have thought of the consequences before you pulled the trigger.

    Which brings me to my last question. Why does WRAL call this 18 year old a teen, I was 18 and carried an M1 rifle in Korea and I knew that I was a man.

  • Bartmeister Nov 30, 10:02 a.m.

    "What a coward this guy must be. How could you kill anyone, let alone an older Vietnam Veteran. Brandex"

    I will issue a directive to all prospective murderers that before doing the murder they obtain complete biographical data on their victim to determine if they are too good to murder or not.
    piene2

    ======================================

    Ahhhh, key word above was ANYONE!! Helloooooo.

  • Bartmeister Nov 30, 9:45 a.m.

    "He's been crying ever since. He was, like, 'Mom, it wasn't me,'"

    "I know my son would not hurt him because we used to talk about him feeding the cats and how sweet it was."

    =============================================

    Boy turned tough guy doesn't sound so tough anymore and Mom has blinders on. He is however due his process in court.

  • piene2 Nov 30, 9:04 a.m.

    "What a coward this guy must be. How could you kill anyone, let alone an older Vietnam Veteran.
    Brandex"

    I will issue a directive to all prospective murderers that before doing the murder they obtain complete biographical data on their victim to determine if they are too good to murder or not.

  • JohnnyVoodoo Nov 30, 8:50 a.m.

    If this suspect would've been white and he shot and killed a black vietnam vet, you can bet Jesse, Al, and that other so called Reverend of the NAACP would be holding rallies on Fayetteville Street demanding justice or threatening to burn the city like Los Angeles. Any white person claiming this was a hate crime will be labeled as a racist by the black community so be careful what you say on here.

  • bluecanary Nov 30, 8:32 a.m.

    So...either Mommy knows who really did the crime, and she should immediately give that person up to the police. Or, it's just another stereotype that I see too much of here in Fayetteville, after sweet precious little junior murders someone innocent, Mommy (or Grandma) is on TV or talking to the paper crying about how her sweet precious good little boy could never have done such an awful thing. Maybe if these mothers would parent their kids better, they wouldn't find themselves in the position of defending them after the fact.

  • storchheim Nov 29, 7:05 p.m.

    "Maybe he didn't act alone"

    They never do. Always in packs.

  • johnny2times Nov 29, 7:03 p.m.

    I am wondering where the NAACP is for this "man"....and how does his mother know it was an older guy that killed him? Why was her son with this older man? Was robbery the motive? Did your little angel of a son tell you WHY they were harassing this white man who served his country which is something this coward wouldn't have the guts to do? I believe this was a racist crime...where is the group wanting justice(besides family of course) for this "man"? Funny how Rev. whats his face only stands up for one race...isn't that racist in it of it self? Just sayin...

  • affirmativediversity Nov 29, 6:35 p.m.

    "Dukes' mother, Daisy Davis, said an older man killed Joppich."

    Then I"m sure she's given the police this person's name and directions to his house.

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