State News

Lumberton 12-year-old shot by booby trap

Posted September 23, 2008 8:31 a.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2008 6:23 p.m. EDT

— A 12-year-old boy was recovering from a shotgun wound he sustained from a booby trap in an unoccupied house, authorities said.

Robeson County Sheriff Ken Sealey said Joshua Harold Locklear of Lumberton was shot in the side Sunday after he and a friend entered the house through an open window. The boy was wounded when he saw a box on the floor and tried to lift it.

Both boys ran outside after the incident. Joshua managed to run 100 yards before collapsing, his grandmother Retha Mae Locklear said Tuesday.

Joshua was listed in fair condition after surgery at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.

Six other devices were discovered in the house after police were called. All of the devices were dismantled with the help of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad. Joe Lenczyk, resident agent in charge of the Fayetteville office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said.

The traps were connected with fishing line to crude devices meant to hurt or kill anyone who tripped them, Lenczyk said. The shell that hit Joshua was filled with buckshot.

"We are looking at how those devices got there and who was responsible for putting them there,” Lenczyk said.

He said whoever set the booby traps could face federal charges because the traps would be classified as destructive weapons.

“There had to be something back there that they didn’t want people back there to know about,” Locklear said.

Police said there was no sign of illegal activity in the building.

“There were no drugs in the house that we could find at this time, but whether it was used at one time for a drug house, I don’t know,” Sealey said.

Sealey said the house hadn't been used in two years.

Lenczyk said ATF agents have interviewed the owner of the property, whose name has not been released. “We have no reason to believe the owner was responsible, but we haven’t decided that conclusively,” he said.

Lenczyk said there are six individuals who have access to the house, but it’s unclear whether the owner had knowledge of somebody planting the booby traps. The individuals are considered persons of interest.

The owner son’s is a member of the military and is another person of interest, Lenczyk said.