Local News

Sanford police probe shootings

Posted August 18, 2009 11:45 p.m. EDT
Updated August 19, 2009 12:06 a.m. EDT

— Sanford police are investigating a string of recent shootings.

The most recent shooting and robbery happened at the Jackpot Mini Mart at 2305 Lee Ave. Store owners Ali Ahmad Mustafa, 37, and Amad Ahmad Asmar, 48, both of 175 Pond View Lane, were shot at about 9:15 p.m. Monday, police said.

"The first thing I think of is how tragic it is for the victims, families, friends and the neighborhoods in which they live,” Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive said.

Mustafa was in intensive care Tuesday at UNC Hospitals. Asmar was taken to Central Carolina Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Brian Michael McQueen, 19, of 1541 Winslow Drive, was charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and armed robbery in connection with the incident.

It was the third shooting in the Sanford area in three weeks.

Allen Junior Fields II, 18, of 414 Maple Ave. in Sanford, has been charged with murder in the August 5 shooting death of 17-year-old Shamika Nikkia Lett.

Lett was shot in the head while walking along Hickory Avenue, at Fourth Street. Officers found her lying in street, and she was flown to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where she died.

"The poor child’s blood just drained through the street. Just left there for dead,” Sanford resident Aleveolus Smith said.

Aleveolus Smith said he heard the shots that killed Lett and thinks police are doing what they can to curb crime. The community, however, could be doing more, he said.

“Keep your eyes open. Be a neighborhood watch. What happened to the neighborhood watch? What happened to the neighborhood watch signs where people watch out for each other? Do a neighborhood watch and help each other to stay safe,” Aleveolus Smith said.

Another shooting happened in the same neighborhood a week ago. A man was shot outside a home near S. 3rd Street and Charlotte Avenue, police said.  His injuries were non-life-threatening.

Capt. David Smith, with the Sanford police, said Tuesday he does not believe the recent shootings are related. He also said the crime rate is down overall.

"I can't overreact and say I've got this large scale problem when experience tells me something different,” Capt. David Smith said.

Police credit the hiring of a gang prevention officer for helping reduce crime in the city.

Anyone with additional information on the shootings is asked to call the Sanford Police Department at 919-775-8268.