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Six charged in gang shootout in Princeville

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LaDeidrick Hopkins

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Local and state authorities arrested six suspects last week in connection to a broad daylight gangland-style shootout between Bloods and Crips in Princeville that caught in the crossfire a loaded school bus and a bystander who sustained injuries.

The suspects, all documented members of two rival gangs, were rounded up after Edgecombe County deputies responded to a Feb. 19 call of shots fired on Neville Street. While en route, deputies received another call that someone had been shot. Arriving deputies found Eugene Nobles with injuries sustained when his car window was shot out during a gunfight between three suspects in a vehicle and three suspects on foot.

Detectives determined that a trio of Crips from Tarboro were in a vehicle on Neville Street when they began exchanging gunfire with a group of Bloods from Princeville who were walking along the street. Nobles’ vehicle was struck in the crossfire. An occupied school bus was directly in front of the car, but no students aboard the bus were injured, said Lt. E.W. Muse, a detective in the Edgecombe County Sheriff Office’s Criminal Investigations Division.

The six suspects tracked down and arrested were Kevontay Parker, 21, of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive; Marques Higgs, 20, of Clayton Place; and Miltavious Hinton, 20, of White Oak Road; each charged with attempted first-degree murder and discharging a firearm from an enclosure.

LaDeidrick Hopkins, 21, of Bryson Lane; Nashaun Johnson, 17, of Ridgewood Road; and Richard Lee Hines, 16, of Carol Lane; were each charged with attempted first-degree murder and discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle.

Parker was convicted late last year of conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon. Higgs was convicted in 2016 of common law robbery. And Hopkins was convicted last year of carrying a concealed weapon, according to the N.C. Public Safety Department.

The Sheriff's Office has been providing law enforcement services to Princeville since the town's police department ceased operations in late 2014.

Ed Bridgers, mayor of Princeville from 1974-81, has repeatedly complained about gang violence. A proponent of bringing back Princeville’s police department, Bridgers said in a 2016 meeting that the situation has become so bad that sometimes gangs block off streets and won't let law-abiding residents through.

Sheriff Clee Atkinson said he's ramping up enforcement in Princeville.

“Our guys are doing a good job with the resources we have, but we are looking to increase that and are talking with the leadership in Princeville.”

Atkinson said he'd like to see cameras installed around town. He said he's already increased unannounced checking stations where deputies have been confiscating a lot of illegal guns.

“We're getting stiff with violent offenders,” Atkinson said. “I'm proud of our guys in this case. They were energized and worked hard to get these young men off the street.”

Atkinson said he deeply appreciates the assistance of several residents of Princeville, the Tarboro Police Department, the Rocky Mount Police Department, officers with N.C. Probation and Parole and the N.C. Department of Insurance for help in the case.

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