The Lenoir County Sheriff's Office have charged the suspects in a shooting that led to a high-speed chase. Investigators said they even found a loaded handgun next to a childcare center during the manhunt.
According to deputies, four people were initially taken into custody; one has since been released but remains a person of interest. The remaining three suspects are 30-year-old Allen Drew McMillan, Jr., and brothers 21-year-old Deshawn M. Dail, and 19-year-old Dedrick Dail, Jr. All three have been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and were each jailed under a $40,000 bond.
Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill said it all started at about 5:15 p.m. Thursday, when the 911 center received a call from a witness who saw a van stop on Banks School Road, near the railroad tracks in Kinston. The witness reported that a passenger in that van fired a handgun into an open field. It was not clear if the shots were aimed at anything specific.
The witness told dispatchers the van quickly left the scene and was heading towards U.S. 258, investigators said. That witness then followed the van to keep authorities updated on the suspects' location.
A deputy responded to the scene and located the van, Sheriff Hill said. But when the deputy tried to stop the van, the driver sped off. The van later crashed into a ditch on Eastwood Drive, but continued down the road until coming to a stop in a nearby driveway, investigators said.
The man who owns the property saw what happened next.
"I saw four or five gentlemen jump out of [the van]," said Mark Capps. "They took of running. I saw two of them go into my neighbor's yard and jump that fence, and then they jumped into the daycare. Two of them went to the right side of my house."
According to deputies, the suspects ran toward ABC123 Academy, a childcare facility located on Hill Farm Road. Witnesses saw one of the suspects carrying a handgun. Deputies said they found the handgun close to the daycare, and it was loaded with one round in the chamber.
"I am so very grateful that we found one of the firearms near the daycare facility. We all know what the potential outcome could have been if a child had found that firearm," said Sheriff Hill. "The daycare facility implemented their lock-down procedure as soon as they learned of the event."
Deputies said they set up a perimeter around the scene. Deputies then worked with Kinston Police, the Highway Patrol, and Lenoir County Emergency Management to search for the suspects. A helicopter helped with the manhunt as well. About 30 minutes later, three men were taken into custody near Memory Lane, about a quarter of a mile from the scene, investigators said.
Two hours later, a fourth suspect was arrested in the backyard of a home on Banks School Road. According to investigators, an off-duty Greenville officer spotted that suspect and held him until deputies arrived.
Authorities said they are still working to find a motive behind the shooting.
"We have no evidence that they were shooting at anybody or shooting at any home," Sheriff Hill said. "They could've just been target practicing for all we know."
Sheriff Hill added that the suspects may be connected with another incident prior to being spotted on Banks School Road. There is also the possibility that another gun linked to the suspects is out there. Anyone who finds the weapon is asked to call the 911 center, Sheriff Hill said.
Deputies said no one was injured in the shooting.