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Harnett Co. shootings, chase result in fear, prayers

Nearly 130 residents gathered at Spring Hill United Methodist Church in Lillington on Monday after a rash of violent crime over the weekend left one person dead, three people shot and another in the hospital after a police chase.

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LILLINGTON, N.C. — In two seconds, a surveillance camera captured a homicide in progress.

Someone fired a handgun multiple times while running past the camera.

Investigators later found an 18-year-old’s body behind a pair of dumpsters.

The July 30 killing in Spring Lake punctuated two days of violence in Harnett County that included a triple shooting and a separate high speed chase that resulted in serious injury.

The incidents shocked residents in the small, rural county just south of Raleigh, prompting a community meeting and prayer service at Spring Hill United Methodist Church in Lillington on Monday.

"We are participating in this service for peace because we love our community and are concerned about recent acts of aggression," said church pastor Terry Williams, who called the meeting to help residents understand what’s causing the violence.

The answer, Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins told about 130 in attendance, is often gangs and drugs.

Rollins, who told attendees “I do not go anywhere without a gun,” advised residents to be ready to protect themselves.

"I want my deputies to be at your house just as fast as they possibly can when you have a problem,” he said. “But you better be able to take care of business before we get there if you need to protect your family."

Monday’s meeting comes days after the high-profile incidents:

  • Raquan Shynell Hooker, 18, Maurice Shaquan Williams, 23, and Maurice Kollis Cox, 27, were shot outside a Kangaroo gas station on N.C. Highway 87 in Cameron Friday afternoon. No arrests were announced as of Monday.
  • Hours later, Jeffrey George, 21, was seriously injured after crashing while fleeing from police. George led authorities on the vehicle pursuit after selling drugs to an undercover officer, officials said. He crashed on U.S. Highway 421 near Marners Road.
  • The body of Eric Kentrall Staten, 18, was found behind dumpsters on Saturday at a business at 6761 Ray Road in Spring Lake. No arrests were announced as of Monday.

The three incidents have left residents like Lynda Jenks in fear.

“I believe in God, but I am still afraid of what is going on,” she said. "I am afraid to go off very far, for very long. I am afraid of break-ins. I am afraid."

Rollins advised residents to report suspicious activity, even if it seems minor, to law enforcement.


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