Suspect killed, resident injured in Sampson home invasion
A St. Pauls man was killed during a struggle after he and two other men broke into a house outside Harrells early Friday and shot one resident, according to the Sampson County Sheriff's Office.
Capt. Eric Pope said the occupants of a home at 1929 Tomahawk Highway were awakened around 5:30 a.m. by three men in dark, hooded shirts who had broken into the house. The occupants struggled with the men, and they fired guns at each other. The three men then ran from the house into nearby woods.
Deputies found one suspect, Michael Antonio Whittington, 30, dead by the road near the house, Pope said.
One resident, Darius Howard, 25, was also shot. He was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, and Pope said Monday that his condition was stable.
Deputies searched for the other two intruders into Friday afternoon. They called in K-9 teams from their office and the Duplin County Sheriff's Office and a helicopter from the Wilmington Police Department.
Pope said that residents told authorities where they saw men going in and out of the woods, helping lead to the men's arrests.
Monquel Jamel Melvin, 27, of Parkton, and Antonio Marcel Robinson, 36, of St. Pauls, were both charged with first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and attempted robbery.
They were placed in the Sampson County Detention Center, with bonds totaling more than $250,000. They are scheduled to appear in court March 30.
Melvin was also served with outstanding warrants from Bladen and Robeson counties for failure to appear in court on charges of discharging a weapon into occupied property, driving while impaired, driving with a revoked license, failure to heed to blue lights and sirens, reckless driving, resisting a public officer and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle after consuming.
Robinson also faces charges in Robeson County of possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to appear in court on a charge of driving with a revoked license.
All three men had criminal records, according to state Department of Correction records.
Whittington's record was the longest and included seven assault convictions dating to 1999, along with convictions for selling drugs. He was most recently released from jail last July.
Melvin has convictions for dealing drugs, theft and assault, while Robinson has larceny and driving while impaired convictions from the 1990s.