Local News

Search Continues For Suspects In Fatal Shooting Of Toddler

Posted August 19, 2005 7:11 a.m. EDT

— A Person County toddler is dead of a gunshot wound and authorities are searching for whoever is responsible.

Person County Sheriff Dennis Oakley said 27-year-old Ray Anthony Paylor was holding his son, Shyheim, in their kitchen when two or three men broke into their Colonial Estates Road home in Hurdles Mills at about 9 a.m. and fired a gun.

"It's a possibility there might have been just one shot -- the father and the child shot with the same bullet," Oakley said. "It could've passed through the child and hit the father."

Authorities said the grandmother heard the shots and called 911. Authorities said the men fled the scene.

Shyheim Paylor, who would have turned 2 years old in October, was shot in the head and was pronounced dead on arrival at Person Memorial Hospital. Ray Paylor was shot in the abdomen and underwent surgery at UNC Hospitals. Officials said his injuries were not life-threatening.

Authorities said the boy's mother and grandmother were at the home, but neither one was injured. Police say they have vague descriptions of the suspects.

"We don't know if it was a home invasion, if it was a robbery or it was a vengeance thing," Oakley said. "We don't know yet."

Few of the neighbors saw or heard anything. Investigators are still looking for clues.

"We're digging a little deeper and trying to get interviews with anybody that saw anything or heard anything," Oakley said.

Oakley said he is determined to catch the people responsible for the crime.

"Why do you have to kill a baby? Why would you even shoot someone with a baby, no matter how mad you are with them?" Oakley said. "I want to catch who did this, and I want to see them get the death penalty."

The sheriff said he was not sure if anything was stolen from the house. The State Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the case.