Local News

2 Killed, 4 Injured During Party Shootout

Posted February 24, 2008 5:14 a.m. EST
Updated February 29, 2008 12:31 p.m. EST

— An argument over a card game escalated into a shooting that left two men dead and four others injured in Sampson County, the sheriff's office said.

All those involved in the shooting were attending a party at 1135 Old U.S. Highway 701, between Garland and Clinton, Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said. At some point, five men and a teenage boy began fighting.

"They were all gathered behind this trailer, and (there) had been some drinking going on," Thornton said. "And apparently, an argument took place, and (they) started shooting each other."

A call about the shooting came in at 1:05 a.m., and deputies found the men and a 15-year-old with gunshot wounds in the back yard of the house, Capt. Eric Pope said.

Sergio Cruz Rojas, 31, and Humberto Sanchez, 36, both of Clinton, were later pronounced dead at Sampson Regional Medical Center in Clinton.

Deputies identified the three injured men as Jose Delacruz Santibanez, 49, Jose Santivanez, 24, and Estaban Majia, 35, all of Clinton. The name of the 15-year-old boy was withheld.

Thornton said investigators were confident that no one else at the party, except the injured and deceased, was involved in the shooting. Deputies were not sure which of the six men were the shooters.


A shotgun, 9mm handgun and rifle were used to fire dozens of bullets, Thornton said.

“It feels awful. It feels terrible that it’s happening right here in the neighborhood,” Susan Williams said.

Williams lives only a few hundred yards away from the house where the shootout occurred. She heard the gunshots but admits, gunfire is not unusual in the neighborhood.

“I heard about four (guns) go off and then after that four, I didn't pay any more attention to it,” she said. “About every night, you can come out here and hear them (guns) going off.”

The four survivors of the shooting were listed in stable condition Sunday, Pope said.

One survivor was hospitalized at Sampson Regional Medical Center, and three others were taken to Bladen County Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown. From Bladen, one injured person was transferred to Duke University Hospital, and two to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.