Local News

Suspect In Hit-And-Run Incidents Undergoing Mental Evaluation

Posted April 15, 2004 8:38 a.m. EDT

— A driver who allegedly went on a deadly rampage spanning three counties Wednesday is at Dorothea Dix Hospital for mental evaluation and drug testing.

Officials say Abdullah El-Amin Shareef, 25, stole two vehicles and led authorities through three counties before being taken into custody Wednesday. One pedestrian was killed and four others were injured.

Shareef is charged with one count of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder.

Fayetteville police responded to a report of a stolen city of Fayetteville van at 280 Lamon St. at 7:52 a.m. Shortly after, they received a call about an alleged assault at 3908 Naples St.

Police say Shareef, driving the stolen van, struck David McCaskill, who was walking his two dogs. They say Shareef attempted to back up the van to strike McCaskill a second time, but did not. Shareef reportedly got out of the van and hit McCaskill with his hands.

"This man had me convinced he was gonna kill me. I was laying there and he slammed on the brakes. Then he backed up trying to hit me coming backwards," McCaskill said. "I had my hands over my head trying to stop him. And I asked him 'Why are you doing this? Why are you trying to kill me?'"

Shareef allegedly left when neighbors began coming out of their houses.

"I heard Mr. McCaskill yelling, 'What did I do to you? What did I do to you?'" witness Jenny Renner said. "The guy was beating him up."

McCaskill, who survived cancer and five heart bypasses, was later treated and released from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Fayetteville police say at 8:08 a.m., Shareef truck 55-year-old Gary Lee Weller with the stolen van near Ramsey Street and Summerchase.

Weller, a former football coach at Pine Forest High School , was transported to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and was airlifted to University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill where he is listed in critical condition.

At 8:21 a.m., the van struck Robert Fortier, who was walking along the roadside of Ramsey Street, near Bienville, in Cumberland County, officials said. He was treated and released from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

According to officials, Shareef abandoned the van in Cumberland County and went to 56-year-old Lonel Bearl Bass, who was driving in his 1997 Chevrolet pickup truck, to ask for directions. Authorities say Bass had stopped by to check on dogs at the Linden Hunting Club.

Officials say Shareef was able to get Bass out of his vehicle and ran him over, sometime after 9:40 a.m. Bass, a volunteer firefighter, was pronounced dead at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

"It's hard on everybody. The circumstances of the way it happened makes it even worse," said Robert Godwin, Bass' friend.

Officials say Shareef then drove Bass' pickup truck to Harnett County, where he struck 28-year-old Seth Thompson. He was treated and released from Betsy Johnson Memorial Hospital.

Shareef traveled through Wake County before hitting a stop sign in Fuquay-Varina," officials said. He left the vehicle and police, fire officials and local citizens chased him in a wooded area before he was finally apprehended.

"As we were running up the hill, I could tell in my mind that I was gaining on him every minute," said Capt. Scott Daniel, of the Fuquay-Varina Fire Department. "I hollered at him a couple of times trying to get him to stop. Once he didn't stop, I just tackled him."

Authorities say at the time of the arrest, Shareef was only wearing a T-shirt and underwear.

Shareef was initially taken to the Fayetteville Police Department before being transferred to Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh.

Shareef has a history of prior criminal violations, including a DWI and driving with a revoked license in 1998 and a speeding violation in 2003.


Jason Stoogenke