Sheriff updates community after Harnett County woman fatally shot in head
Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats updates the public after a 72-year-old woman died from being shot in the head Monday in Erwin. Coats said the shooting was the result of "two idiots acting foolishly."
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You know, I just don't know these things are sure we're so, you know okay, what we're doing mega toy haul. Mhm Brown. Yeah mm I'm not even sure. Yeah I've always loved lifelong. That's all the ball certainly. Mhm mhm mhm false. Mhm mhm. There is yeah. Month of spring. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Mhm Don't take my hybrid work. Good morning. Good morning. Yeah. Okay. Okay we're ready. Uh appreciate everybody coming out. I know press conference announcement was sent out last night but we were still waiting for some information this morning so I didn't want to to reveal anything until I knew for sure. Uh we'll start out with the first case this morning, which was Miss Pitkin who was um shot and killed innocently on Or when one level road this past Monday. We do have um warrants for first degree murder and they are artist luis Elliot. He lives on the Beaver Dam Road and he is charged with first degree murder. Uh We originally had warrants for him for assault with a deadly weapon if it's been serious Anjali injury um shooting into an occupied vehicle. Uh Those charges will in the future probably be dropped because now the charges upgraded because MS Pitkin passed away last night. So he is charged with first degree murder. Um at this point uh Through his attorney was supposed to have turned himself in this morning at 10:00. We've not seen or heard from him. So at this point he is a fugitive. I want to let the community and let's get this out there as quickly as again he is armed and dangerous. He's already killed an innocent persons of Mhm We ask anybody to please contact us on our um tip line at 91089301 40. We will be passing out his photographs so you can get those out there. Mm Again I can't say enough about uh huh this woman going about her daily daily duties of what a grandmother would be doing and get caught up in uh something like this is disturbing. The only thing I can say is at least now and this is not going to ease the pain. There's no words I can say that he's the pain of the Children is we have warmth and I look forward to putting him in our jail in custody. Um this is not gonna bring closure to the family, but maybe it will help in some way and and hopefully we can stop this from happening again before you move on to a couple of questions about this case. Sure. Okay. So you have a suspect now. Mhm. Have you found any of the vehicles associated? And so how did that come to? Well, I will say this, we do have the crown vic that you know, in the press conference money, we were looking to Brown car, we do have that in custody and or in our evidence and that that was called in. And and again, let me let me share this with you when we did this press conference, It accomplished a lot of things. one We've always said Sheriff's Office with our employees that we have, and the new ones that I have. Our motto is we gotta trust in our community and our community's gotta trust in us. And when we did this press conference monday, how we got to where we are today was because of the public's input. And the fact that y'all helped us get it out there because the tips started coming in, I'm not gonna go into a lot about how we found the car and I'll, but it was the public trusting in earth and that's trusting in them that helped bring and resolve this case. What he's talking about, the suspect in this case criers and what that. But um, I don't have that with me, but we got a mug shot. So I'm sure he has a history. You said on monday that there were, that you thought there were multiple people involved in the shooting. You probably made one arrest. Do you think there are other people out there? I think what I'm going to say at this point is there was two cars involved but the only one that we can confirm was doing the shooting and the evidence we got points to. Mr Elliott. You think he's the only one involved? Well I mean when you say the only one involved, I think he's the only one that involved. As far as killing Miss Pitkin, there's another person involved were injured at all. Obviously there was no registered or is connected to this suspect is being charged it within a family member, within a family member and he lived very close to this victim. I mean do you know what they knew each other whatsoever? Does he? This is just the best we know right now. This is an ongoing feud with several of them out there in that area. I guess you could just call it the Hatfields and McCoys. I think this is gonna be, um, it could possibly be, I'm not ruling it out, but, uh, in this investigation, even though we've charged him, is going to continue on, uh, to see if there it is involving the others. You stopped when you were talking about the Hatfields and McCoys continue that. Thought that about what's happening out there to bring this level of violence to that particular area in today's climate. I mean, uh, you and I were pretty close to the same age in the younger years, me and you might get an argument or fight and after it's over with you, show cans, got up, went about your business. Now, one get an argument, one pulls a knife and nothing pulls a gun. And, uh, it don't take much set them off and it's, it's so disturbing and aggravating. I mean, it's a lot of it is gang turf war. It could be and not in not in this case, I don't think it involves a woman, but I mean it don't take much today to set them off. Do you have any idea Miss Pickett was an innocent bystander. Do you have any idea who the target was? Uh yes, but I want to give his name at this time for safety reasons. Sure. You're talking about the fact that you received how many in total in the last 24 hours? I have not confirmed that would be detected. But I know it was more people once it started coming in after they saw the press conference and getting out the type of vehicles with what little bit we had at the time and of course monday Tuesday and I will hand this to you. This is what we started doing with the check points out in that area. We put a description of the cars out there and, and this is what we had them doing, stopping anybody seeing these vehicles or something like that. And gosh, that's a lot of the tips started coming to those, the actual vehicles or vehicles like that. They are the actually what level Irwin? It seems like the last place you would suspect for gang activity exchanging shooting each other. What can you, what do you tell the people that says they could, This could be anywhere because one level ever wins in the country. It seems so quiet. There's a keyword right there. It's in the country, they know they're not in the municipality. Of course they had shootings in the municipalities, but they're less likely to get caught or witnesses out there. Um, in the country, just like Dollar General, they build Dollar general's as far as the county as you can in different counties there on the, on the county lines. Well, they know when they get robbed or somebody robs them, it's gonna take a while for somebody to get there. So there's an advantage for them when they go to these places like that and rob. Sure imagine you've been aware of this kind of activity in that area. How long have you been monitoring the situation in that kind of activity? Would be honest with you until just recently, Like I said in monday's, we had only had those shootings starting in april I mean in january, So since january we had back then out there in that area. Um, the one incident somebody asked me about this morning on Uh, where Mr Wilkins was shot and killed. He was the innocent bystander. I mean, that was just there at the intersection of Beaver Dam in 2 17 and it was as close to the county line as you could get. And he was just an innocent bystander. And they just come by and shot him there at the interception. So prior to um january, we had no reason to. Just the Focused on that one area. Sheriff. Can you talk more about this suspect? Armed and dangerous on the loose? Are you advising neighbors to stay inside? You have deputies out there looking for this man? Uh, well, we're constantly looking for him, will still be doing these checkpoints and so forth. But as far as the neighbors, uh, we don't think he's in this area right now, but I'm not gonna say got out on and say, don't worry, he's not here. I want everybody to worry because right now until we get him in custody, he's already killed one. He knows he's wanted. Um I don't I don't want anybody to confront him, contact us and let us handle it. I think he has, he did not turn himself in when he said he was going to And yeah, to me, he's on the run. Has your has your department been in contact with him directly or just his attorney who was giving his projected attorney days through his attorney? So we've not you've not spoken with him or your department has not, not that I'm aware of everything. He's well aware that he's one. I'm sorry you had said you had spoken to his attorney, so he obviously knows he's wanted, right? Yes. Sure. Obviously, when violence like this happens in the world, community like the blood level Irwin area residents start to get concerned. What do you have to say to residents out there may be fearful right now for this individual here, and also the other shootings that happened earlier this year? Well that brings up a good porn. First question let me answer is yes, you need to be concerned. Um, but you can't leave yourself in a bubble, but if you see anything suspicious, anything call us, let us handle it. Um The second part of the question, um the public needs to be just like the heaven, this be very vigilant and again, just observe anything that goes on and please call us. That's the best advice I can give them. The other part of it is we've had these two shootings monday and we had not fixed and go into and we've already solved both of them. Within a couple of days we've got somebody charged. So the detectives and the sheriff's office and the public, we've all done a great job in in a short period of time and get them in custody. So to the public I'll say this you know we're out there we're going to do our job and we're going to do it the best we can and come up and make sure we've got the evidence when we charge them. We know we've got the proof that they've done it and to be able to solve these two within two days of the and the one that I'm gonna go into next. We really knew that same day is just trying to locate them. So I want the public to know that these men and women are working hard and it showed right here with these. We've already solved these two. You talk about the next. Yes and I have some pictures. I will be passing out of Mr Elliot that's on the run holding hold up so we can see camera after one. And do you mind staying for us? Yes. Yes. Okay. It's artists. A R. T. I. S. Louis L A W. S. Eliot E L L O T. T. How old is he? Uh born in 92. What month? April five, Yeah. Well 1st correct. Yes. Area correct. It is. Okay thank you. Um Yes. His addresses, Beaver Dam. Right. Also I would like for you to show this just to show what this murder or dan. This is a mother, a grandmother. Mhm. Just going about her daily daily chores, being a grandmother. You talked to what worried about her and she wanted just the fact that she was well loved in her community that minded her own business but was loved by the community out there. Um She has two other daughters. I have not spoken with them and briefly had spoken to the sun on the day. That incident happened when he pulled up out there and again, that's what really set me off for the innocent bystanders. That's why this was A tough one. Now to deal with the second one we're going to talk about is yesterday Call came in at 423 reference to a gunshot wound out on Pete Mason Lane in Spring Lake. Um The suspect and the victim did not know each other had just met that day and okay. Mhm. They, it was rather than motive was robbery. He was shot in the chest. Um And we drew warrants first degree murder on Bristowe spelling bee. R. I. S. T. O. W. Motion. M. O. A. S. H. A. U. N. La Far, L. A. F. A. R. And his date of birth is 88 97. Um He is a black male 6' 1" 190 lb. Brown hair and brown eyes. Also he is on the run. He is considered armed and dangerous as well. And again we're asking for the public's help. Just like we did mandy and anybody that sees him please don't approach him. Just contact this mm He's pretty much the same category as mr Elliot. He's a murderer and let us handle it. But give us some calls and give us some tips. We're gonna be out in that area as well. Like we did with Miss Pitkin. I have no reason to believe. I mean this was an isolated incident but again he is a murderer and he's a fugitive so please call us with anything that you have a, yeah it's not believed to be game related as well. Mhm. Uh Not sure because they had never met each other until this day. And the motive was robbery, observe a car. What you said it was involved in a car. No said robbery stole his money. What were they meeting up for that? I'm not ready to share that information at this time. But there is one for first degree murder on him as well. This he showed up at the victim's house, showed up at the victim's house. I was invited or the show and then I'm not sure this time with these cases have fleeing suspects. Have you been in contact with other law enforcement agencies across the state? About where and how about their whereabouts? We have We've we've sent out this uh on the N. C. I. C. D. C. I. Has gone out nationwide full extradition anywhere with their found. Yes we have shared this with our other nationwide and again I can't stress enough the help that you all gave us getting it out there. Um one of the tips on this pit can right after she saw the press conference I went to and local agency and gave information after she saw the press conference that helps so and get us where we are today. So uh again that's believing in our community and our community, believing in us all working together and that's what it takes has really really benefited us as well. Are you going to release the name of the victim of this? Like. Yes. Um And I apologize I thought mm it was adam vast quiz Get you. Yeah it's uh 80 am vast quiz. V. A. Z. Q. U. E. Z. And I think he was uh like 20. He was born in 1997 as well. Uh, pete mason line and you don't know what that was drug related that's still in the investigation. Not say it's drug related and saying this robbery, the money was missing. If you leave the initial shooting out fellow early relatively, there was any gang or drug relations that shooting, I can't rule that out. As I said, mandy probably evolved drugs probably involved road rage, gang related. Mm, Just a few. Can you tell us that area, other known drug houses drug dealers in that area that your office is aware of? The one that we know which we've had problems with out there and we've not had any lately. Was a known area right there, near where the conference was, but that place wasn't even operational. But um, I can't say that it came from that, but he was not shooting at her. Right? No, she was just in the wrong wrong place. He was shooting at at another person in another car and another car. Have you spoken to them or reached out to whoever was in that other vehicle that's still in the investigation? What yesterday? 4:23s what time the call came in to fatal shootings in daylight? I mean, sure. I mean that's why I said, uh, and I got criticized that day for somebody, but let me say it again. Yes, it is. During these shootings, uh, done had won a year or so ago at Wendy's drive thru broad daylight. The man was sitting in his car with people in front and behind. The guy gets out, walks up and shoots and I mean it's yes disturbing to law enforcement officers as well as the public in the public eye. No, felt just like I did monday and I still feel this way they're mad. They're angry that these things are going on. And you know, we're not a big, big office and I'm not making excuses. We got a little over 135,000 people in this county. And I only have 12 deputies per squad. So you basically looking at one deputy per 55 square miles. I need more deputies. The commissioner's. No, I do. But you know, I always got finance problems. So, um, but that's no excuse for these people acting foolishly and killing people. Would you consider seeking federal health? Would I consider they're not going to be able to stop it and we're solving them? So, I mean, I take any help and I refused it. No, but they've got their issues to and, and like I said, when you can solve To within two days we're doing everything right. But it also took the public's help to help us do it too. When you look at the other four shootings, your beaver communities are going back to this, That's okay. What what exactly do you see in those cases that are similar to this one? Is there any similarities of how these murders are being executed is a no way that there doing things in this area, just the game related drug related, That's the biggest thing. Have you solved any of those uh money that uh we're still acting as that correct? Uh One of them was actually in Irwin, um but it was in that area, so that was not ours that we were investigating, but we all work together on it. But you know, being being as visible as you can with the amount of personnel you have is the biggest key. But you can't like I said this happening out in the municipalities. Uh huh. When you got 650 square miles to cover and you've got 12 deputies doing it. It's hard to be at every place. Uh Maybe you do the best you can look for the data from the victim in this substantially. Uh he was I know he was born in 1997. This thing uh Yes, he was born July 15, 1997. Okay. Mhm. Anything is if not, thank you so much. And I appreciate your question. Do you believe that your county has a problem? Every time you've got a gang problem? Not just tone it can there are so many gangs out there and uh but one thing we have seen lately, it used to be the bloods and the crips fighting each other. Now the bloods are fighting, the bloods crips are fighting the crips. That's how much has changed. It's just gotten crazy. Thank you. Okay. The job. Did you pass out that one? That one. Alright. Here we go. Get. Yeah. I think I got some more here. Yes sir. You need more than yeah.