Local News

Fayetteville man charged in motorcyclist's shooting death

Posted February 20, 2013 12:06 p.m. EST
Updated February 20, 2013 6:48 p.m. EST

— Police said Wednesday that a Fayetteville man has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a motorcyclist early Tuesday and that the killing wasn't linked to an attack on a second motorcyclist.

Francisco Echeverria, 24, of Cambridge Arms, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Craig Spencer Morris, 50, of Fayetteville.

Police found Morris wounded near his mangled motorcycle on Bragg Boulevard near Skibo Road shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday. He had been shot in the chest and was pronounced dead at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Investigators said they determined that Morris, a member of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club, and Echeverria were involved in a verbal altercation in the parking lot of Carolina Square, a plaza on Bragg Boulevard with several adult entertainment clubs, a short time before the shooting.

"Apparently, some words were exchanged. What the conversation was about, I do not know," police Lt. Chris Davis said.

There is no indication that the shooting was related to any motorcycle or car club, police said.

"The message that the Fayetteville Police Department wants to put out there is that there's no evidence that this was gang-related (or) car club-related," Davis said. "Motorcyclists should not take any more precautions than they normally do."

Evidence also indicates that the homicide wasn't connected to a hit-and-run on Cliffdale Road involving another motorcyclist, police said.

In that case, Matthew John Key, 30, told police somebody in a silver or white four-door sedan shot at him and ran his motorcycle off the road shortly after 3 a.m.. He said a man and a woman were in the car.

Key, an active-duty soldier and a member of the Wingmen motorcycle club, was taken to Womack Army Medical Center with injuries described as non-life-threatening.

Investigators said the attack was an apparent case of road rage, noting that witnesses reported seeing Key exchange words with two people in a silver, four-door Chevrolet sedan after pulling into the parking lot of the Value Place Hotel on Cliffdale Road. Following the altercation, witnesses said, both Key and the sedan drove off down the street at a high rate of speed.

"It looks at this point that the motorcycle rider may have actually been the aggressor. One thing led to another," Davis said, adding that police have no evidence beyond Key's statement that any shots were fired.

Members of the Hell's Angels in Fayetteville declined to comment Wednesday on Morris' death, and the flag outside their lodge flew at half-staff for a second day.

"We've had no issues that I'm aware of with the Hell's Angels, and we'd like to keep it that way," Davis said.

Anyone with information about the Cliffdale Road shooting is asked to call the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-988-6543 or Crime Stoppers at 910-483-8447.