Local News

Police: Slain Toddler's Parents to be Charged

Posted January 14, 2008 3:39 p.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2008 6:25 p.m. EST

— Charges were pending Monday against the parents of a toddler killed by a stray bullet as Rocky Mount police searched for vehicles and people believed to be connected to two double shootings over the weekend.

Shots were fired into a house at 2805 Pelham Road shortly before 8:30 p.m. Saturday, police said. One stray bullet hit and killed 27-month-old Jamir Whitaker.

Jamir's father, Airic Whitaker, 31, was shot twice, police said. He was listed in stable condition at Pitt Memorial Hospital on Monday afternoon.

Witnesses told police they saw a person running to a vehicle after the shooting. The vehicle left the scene traveling in the direction of Winstead Road.

Police described the vehicle as a dark green or blue, four-door, late-model Ford Taurus. The car might have tinted windows.

Investigators believe robbery was the motive in this shooting. Inside the house, they found 17 pounds of marijuana, approximately $3,500 in cash and other drug paraphernalia.

Charges for reckless endangerment of a child were pending against Airic Whitaker and the toddler's mother, police said. The couple was expected to face drug charges, police said.

A neighbor, who wanted to be identified only as Chris, said he was stunned to learn of the drugs in the house.

"I had no clue. But if that's the case, that's not what we want around here in our neighborhood," he said.

The Whitakers had lived in the neighborhood for less than a year, Chris said, adding that he got the feeling they were looking for a fresh start.

"I can't imagine what that his momma is going through, having to lose her son. She told neighbors that she was happy she had moved over here (because) her kid could go out and play in the yard and not have to worry," he said.

The second shooting happened when two men were leaving a birthday party at a house in the 400 block of Lexington Street early Sunday.

Tywon Tucker remained in critical condition at Pitt Memorial Hospital on Monday, while Dante Whitaker was in stable condition at Nash General Hospital.

Police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and might be linked to the Whitaker shooting. Officers were searching for two people of interest in the second case but didn't release their names.

Detectives were also looking for a dark green or black Buick Roadmaster with tinted windows.

Anyone with information regarding either shooting was asked to Capt. Marty McCoy of the Rocky Mount Police Department at 252-972-1485 or Twin County CrimeStoppers at 252-977-1111.