Local News

Burglary, attack on soldier sets Fayetteville neighborhood on edge

Posted July 28, 2014 2:43 p.m. EDT
Updated July 28, 2014 6:04 p.m. EDT

— Neighbors were anxious Monday as Fayetteville police continued to search for two men in the weekend attack on a Fort Bragg soldier in his home.

Capt. Patrick Knight, 26, went to 523 Vista Drive Friday evening to collect personal belongings from the home, which is under construction after a recent fire. Police said he and a friend apparently surprised three men, who had broken in and were robbing the residence.

"The house has been closed up, and they weren't supposed to live in it for two months. So, that's why I was surprised that anything was going on over there," next-door neighbor Sally Parker said Monday.

Knight was beaten by the three men, who fled when his female friend's screams prompted neighbors to call 911.

"His head was so brutally, brutally damaged," Parker said.

Fort Bragg officials said Knight was listed in good condition Monday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Another neighbor saw three men running from the home, and police were able to apprehend one a couple of blocks away.

Alexander James Smith, 26, of 1412 Cobra Drive, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, felony breaking-and-entering and felony conspiracy. He remains in the Cumberland County jail under a $500,000 secure bond.

Police said Smith beat Knight with a steel grate.

Anyone with information about the attack or who can help police identify the two men still sought in the case is asked to call the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1856 or Crime Stoppers at 919-483-8477.