Local News

Arrests Made in Child's Fatal Shooting

Posted June 2, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Police have arrested five suspects and are said to be still looking for others in the fatal shooting of a 4-year-old asleep in her bed. Brittany Johnson was killed during a shooting in front of her Rocky Mount home Saturday night.

She was struck by one of approximately eight bullets fired at the Rex Street house, and died a short time later.

Police have arrested Cornelius Clark, Patrick Clark, James Jackson, and Keith Sharpe. All four are in jail, facing first degree murder charges.

Police said just before 11 p.m. the suspects were chasing a man through the neighborhood and the conflict ended up on the Johnson's porch.

Rocky Mount Police Lt. A.G. Delano told WRAL-TV5 reporter Julia Lewis, "I think this is a case of an innocent child that was, as you said, in the wrong place at the wrong time -- or in the right place at the wrong time, I guess."

Authorities said two adults and five other children were also in the house when the shooting occurred.

The Rex Street neighborhood is no stranger to violent crime. Just a few weeks ago another 4-year-old died by gunfire down the street from the Johnson house.

Carolyn Cofield said that it's scary staying in the neighborhood because parents worry while they are at work about how their children are doing and whether someone will come by with a gun.

Cofield has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and like other neighbors believes that crime is quickly taking over.

Another neighbor, James Hinton, said residents are concerned about the kids alot, and the adults as well.