Local News

Suspect sought in fatal Sampson racetrack shooting

Posted July 5, 2010 11:35 a.m. EDT
Updated July 5, 2010 4:42 p.m. EDT

— Sampson County deputies were searching Monday for a gunman in a Sunday night shooting at a rural racetrack that left one dead.

Authorities said Timothy McKoy, 29, of Garland, and another man began arguing at Harrells Raceway at about 6:30 p.m. when the other man pulled out a gun and began firing. McKoy was shot three times and died at the racetrack, and the gunman fled the area.

Between 200 and 300 people were at the track at the time of the shooting.

Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said authorities believe they know who the gunman is, but he declined to provide a description or identity.

The incident was the second time in two months that authorities were called to the track, at 3030 Buckhorn Road.

In May, a spectator was killed in the stands and another injured by debris from a wreck during a drag race.

Harrells Raceway is privately owned and isn't sanctioned by the International Hot Rod Association or regulated by the state.

Thornton said his deputies don't get many calls to the private racetrack, and he hasn't heard complaints about it from the community.

"All in all, it's been a pretty controlled crowd," he said.

Edward Murrell, who lives near the racetrack, said that spectators are usually low-key, even amid the high-octane action on the track.

"No rowdy crowds, no nothing. Most times, it's very peaceful," Murrell said.

Still, Thornton asked track owner Eddie Yarborough on Monday to beef up security. Off-duty deputies don't provide security at events where alcohol is served on the premises, which is the case at the racetrack, because of potential liability issues.

"It looks like it may be necessary, and they said they had discussed that prior to me asking the question," the sheriff said.

Yarborough couldn't be reached Monday for comment.