NEW HANOVER COUNTY – Detectives have arrested a man and two teens suspected of having a connection to a shooting Tuesday afternoon that injured an innocent passer-by and narrowly missed the man’s 8-year-old son, whom he had just picked up from school.
Twenty-three-year-old Veshon Lendell Shaw, 17-year-old Jaquaries Jermaine Washington, and 16-year-old Nasir De’Ante Leonard are facing multiple gun and drug charges following their first court appearance on Wednesday.
The three suspects, however, were not charged with firing the shots on Tuesday that struck a vehicle as it drove through the intersection of of North Kerr Avenue and Grathwol Drive. Rather, authorities say they were found in a vehicle suspected to have been at the scene of the shooting.
Shots were fired at about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. Assistant District Attorney Dru Lewis said the 38-year-old victim had just picked up his 8-year-old son from Wilmington Christian Academy and was turning onto Kerr Avenue from Grathwol Drive, when he saw an SUV drive by and heard two gunshots.
“He realized he was shot. He pulled his vehicle over and covered up his 8-year-old son,” Lewis said.
The victim stopped his car and heard another round of shots, Lewis said. EMS picked up the victim near the intersection of North Kerr and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. He was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment. As of Wednesday, the victim remained at the hospital in stable condition.
Detectives found multiple bullet holes in victim’s car door and in the rear of the vehicle, according to Lewis. Detectives also found bullet shell casings from different gun calibers at the crime scene.
Based on the vehicle’s description, detectives identified Shaw as a suspect. Detectives were then able to connect Shaw to the area of the shooting by matching data from a GPS monitoring device he has been wearing while on probation for an unrelated charge. They later used that GPS to track the suspects to a car dealership on Market Street.
“The small child was never hit, but bullet holes were all around where the child was sitting,” New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said.
Shaw was driving the vehicle, Lewis said. Detectives found Leonard in the passenger seat, along with a 9 mm handgun under the front dashboard, Lewis said. Washington was found in the back seat of the SUV, allegedly holding a stolen 9 mm handgun in his lap. In addition to the handguns, detectives seized 65 bindles of heroin and 26 grams of marijuana from the vehicle.
The three suspects were arrested and booked at the New Hanover County jail Tuesday night. Leonard, a gang member, has been charged with two counts of felony trafficking in opium or heroin and felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver heroin. Shaw, also a gang member, was charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver heroin and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Washington faces charges of misdemeanor possession of a handgun by a minor and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
In New Hanover County District Court Wednesday afternoon, Judge Chad Hogston raised each defendants’ bond from $500,000 to $1 million secured. Following the hearing, District Attorney Ben David and New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon held a press conference to talk about the case.
“We believe they were involved in the shooting,” McMahon said. The sheriff said detectives are searching for more suspects and gathering evidence in the ongoing investigation.
“The small child was never hit, but bullet holes were all around where the child was sitting,” McMahon said. “I am telling the community right now, that is unacceptable and we will not tolerate that type of activity.”
McMahon said detectives have gathered information that there was another vehicle involved in the shooting.
“We will continue to investigate this and we will not stop until everyone involved is in jail,” McMahon said.
WATCH a video from Wednesday’s press conference with New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon and District Attorney Ben David.