Local News

Sampson boy shot during burglary 'hanging on,' sheriff says

Posted November 19, 2012 5:10 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2012 7:22 p.m. EST

— A 4-year-old boy injured in a shooting Friday night during a home invasion outside Clinton is "hanging on," Sampson County's sheriff said Monday.

Investigators say someone tried to force his way into the home off Plantation Lane around 10:30 p.m. Friday and that, when he couldn't make entry into a bedroom, he fired into the door and struck the boy.

The boy's father chased the gunman, who jumped into a waiting vehicle and fled.

A family friend on Monday identified the boy as Jose Santiso Vargas, the son of a migrant worker from Florida.

Jose was being treated at an undisclosed hospital Monday afternoon. Sheriff's deputies have said that he is on life support.

"These people were just trying to make a living. In fact, their plans were to return to Florida today," Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said. "Instead, they're at a hospital with their child, not knowing if that child is going to make it or not."

The sheriff's office is investigating three other reports of similar burglaries in the area over the weekend. In at least one other case, the victims were preparing to move.

Thornton said it is still too early to say if any of the cases are related but that they all involve migrant workers.

"The Hispanic population has a lot of cash on them, because they don't deal much with their banking institutions," Thornton said.

Investigators say it's a community that can also be tight-lipped for fear of retaliation. But they're hoping someone will talk.

Anyone with information should call the Sampson County Sheriff's Office at 910-592-4141. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 910-564-5261.

"We've been stressed," Thornton said. "We're giving it our best shot, but at this time, I'm asking that the people of this county help us."