Local News

Robeson sheriff looks for more leads in principal shooting

Posted July 7, 2009 5:52 p.m. EDT
Updated July 7, 2009 7:22 p.m. EDT

— Three months after a Fairmont Middle School principal was shot in the face on his way to work, the Robeson County sheriff says he is working tirelessly to solve the case.

James Hunt was driving along Davis Road around 6:50 a.m. on April 9 when he was shot by someone in a pickup truck.

Despite a shattered mouth and nose, the former Marine steered his Jeep Cherokee onto Interstate-95 north and drove 15 miles to Lumberton. Hunt was treated at the emergency room at Southeastern Regional Medical Center and then airlifted to Duke University Hospital.

After three months and no arrests, Hunt says he is frustrated by the pace of the investigation.

“We fully expected this thing to be settled within a week because it was such a tragic and highly publicized ordeal,” Hunt said.

Sheriff Kenneth Sealey says Hunt's medical treatment made it tough to interview him.

"We have worked this investigation constantly, and it has been difficult. We need information that we need follow up with him on, and there have been times we have not been able to talk with him,” Sealey said.

Sealey said his office is looking into several leads in the case and that the State Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the probe. Officers have also canvassed the area where the shooting happened and conducted license checks on Davis Road.

"We haven't seen anything positive on that right now,” Sealey said.

Hunt is convinced his shooting was school-related and possibly gang-related. Two days prior to the shooting Hunt said he held a “Stop the Violence” rally at his school.

“I told all the students, I said, ‘If you’re in a gang and they’re telling you you can’t get out, you come to me,’” Hunt said.

Sealey says it is not clear whether a gang is involved, adding that gangs have yet to pose a serious threat in the area.

"It's not a real severe problem right now. We need to thank the Lord for that,” Sealey said.

If you have any information that could help in the investigation, call the sheriff's office at 910-671-3100.

Concerned about their safety, Hunt and his family have been living out of a hotel room in Durham since the shooting. Expenses are piling up. He was denied worker's compensation because his injuries were not considered work related.

With mounting medical costs, a "fun run" is planned for Sunday in Pembroke to raise money for Hunt. It cost $10 to ride a motorcycle or vehicle in the event. It starts at 2 p.m. at the C&P Mini Mart at 700 Union Chapel Road. For more information, call 910-736-2497 or 910-738-1733.