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Teens Charged with Spring Lake Murders

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18-year-old Antonio Smith, Murder Suspect
SPRING LAKE — Two Cumberland County teens are behind bars, charged in a shooting thatleft three people dead and one man hospitalized.

It happened in a mobile home just outside Spring Lake. Deputies say18-year-old Antonio Smith and 17-year-old Johnny McKnight shot the fourvictims early Saturday morning.

A 22-year-old woman and two teen-aged boys were foundshot to death. The father of one of the teen-agers, James Williams, 46, alsowas shot and was in critical butstable condition at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, authorities said.

Investigators identified the dead as Williams' son, 17-year-old RodneyC. Perry, and twoChatham County residents, Joseph Devane Petty, 19, and Renetta AndreaBrooks, who was Williams' niece.

Cumberland County Sheriff Moose Butler said James Williams managed toget out of thetrailer after the gunmen fled,and asked a neighbor for help. He had multiple gunshot wounds to his upperbody and wastaken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Two undercover narcotics agents from the Spring Lake Police Departmentwere working anunrelated case a couple of blocks away when they heard the shots. Butlersaid they were movingtoward the site of the shooting when they saw Smith.

"He practically ran into their arms," Butler said.

Butler said the narcotics officers found Smith was carrying a .357-caliberpistol and a largeamount of money. The officers took Smith to the trailer where deputies hadalready arrived.

A police dog followed a track from Williams' trailer to the home ofMcKnight's grandmother,about 100 yards from the shootings. McKnight was in the home, and deputiesarrested him about5:30 a.m.

A warrant filed with a magistrate said McKnight shot the three with a 9mmpistol. Smith ischarged with shooting the three victims with a .357 Magnum revolver.

The three killings are the worst single-incident shooting in the countysince Aug. 6. 1993 whenKenneth French Jr. stormed into Luigi's restaurant on McPherson ChurchRoad and killed fourpeople.

McKnight and Smith are both charged with three counts of first degreemurder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

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