Local News

Lumberton man charged in fatal convenience store shooting

Posted March 14, 2012 6:52 a.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2012 3:21 p.m. EDT

— Robeson County deputies on Wednesday charged a man in a fatal shooting at a convenience store outside Lumberton.

Fernando Fortunato Smith, 30, of Lumberton, was walking across the parking lot outside Graceland Food Mart, at 3432 N.C. Highway 211 West, at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when a gold car pulled into the lot and a man jumped out and shot him, authorities said.

Smith was pronounced dead at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.

A deputy spotted a car matching the description of the vehicle in the shooting and chased it several miles before the driver stopped and ran. The man was arrested after a brief foot chase.

James Earvent Chavis, 33, of Lumberton, was charged with murder in the case. He was being held without bond Wednesday in the Robeson County jail.

Smith was a suspect in the May 2004 death of Chavis' father, James Arthur Deal, but charges against him were dismissed in January 2005, said Maj. Howard Branch of the Robeson County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators are trying to determine if Deal's death played a role in Tuesday's shooting, Branch said.