Police Chief: Murder suspect arrested in one of two fatal shootings

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Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous, left, speaks to media about a recent arrest along with Capt. Jim Varrone. Photo by Christina Haley, Port City Daily
Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous, left, speaks about a recent arrest along with Capt. Jim Varrone. Photo by Christina Haley, Port City Daily

Detectives with the Wilmington Police Department have charged a city man with first-degree murder in connection with one of two fatal shootings that ended in a wreck this week. Investigators say the two incidents are neither related nor associated with gang activity.

Montrell Dyshawn Sweet, 22, of Wilmington, turned himself into police headquarters sometime after a Ali Iquan Dameish Rouse was found dead at the scene of a wreck in the 1900 block of Market Street on Tuesday, according to Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous.

Evangelous, who spoke about the incident at a press conference Wednesday morning, said the shooting was reportedly the result of domestic dispute that occurred shortly after 11 a.m.

Rouse, 21, and a woman drove into the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 2100 block of Market Street, where the suspect reportedly approached the vehicle, Evangelous said.

Words were exchanged and the suspect fired several shots at Rouse, who was still in the car, Evangelous said. Rouse drove onto Market Street and wrecked the car a few blocks away.

Montrell Dyshawn Sweet
Montrell Dyshawn Sweet

Rouse was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman, who had reportedly exited the vehicle at the apartment complex, was not injured during dispute or shooting, Evanglous said.

“We do know that Sweet and the female had a child in common,” Evangelous said. “The incident sparked from a domestic dispute. This was not gang related. This was an isolated incident.”

While the incident is not gang related, Evangelous said the victim and the suspect in the case reportedly have some gang affiliation.

“Our intelligence unit discovered information that there may be efforts underway to retaliate. I want to make it very clear to anyone who is involved in any kind of retaliation violence, it will not be tolerated and we will do everything in our power to stop it,” Evangelous said. “Enough is enough. Families are being destroyed because of this violence and we must learn to resolve these disputes in peaceful ways.”

Sweet has been charged with first-degree murder and discharging a firearm into occupied property causing serious bodily injury, according to court records.

Sweet made his first appearance in New Hanover County District Court on Wednesday and was assigned to the state’s capital defender’s office, according to Samantha Dooies, assistant to District Attorney Ben David.

Sweet is being held at the New Hanover County Jail without bond.

Police captain speaks about Sunday shooting death

Wilmington police shield from onlookers the car in which a man was found fatally shot. Photo by Christina Haley, Port City Daily.
Wilmington police shield from onlookers the car in which a man was found fatally shot. Photo by Christina Haley, Port City Daily.

Rouse’s death on Market Street was the second fatal shooting this week involving a motorist who wrecked his car.

Wilmington police found 33-year-old Lutfee Muitsin Henderson fatally shot in driver’s seat of his vehicle, which had wrecked in the area of South Sixth and Kidder streets at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

Wilmington Police Department Capt. Jim Varrone, who spoke briefly about incident on Wednesday, said detectives do not believe the two shootings are related.

“We discovered what appeared to be a serious traffic collision…we learned that shots were fired one block away. The victim in one of the vehicles fleeing the scene was struck and drove into a parked vehicle,” Varrone said. “We are actively working leads, [and] looking at some individuals…and we’re moving toward closure on this event as well.”

No arrests have been made in connection with Henderson’s death. Varrone added that the incident is also not believed to be gang related.

“We want to reiterate these are not random acts. There’s not people out there just randomly shooting at vehicles about the city. They are tragic, but yet, not random,” Varrone said.

Christina Haley is a crime and courts reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6337 or christina.h@portcitydaily.com.