Authorities recover handgun stolen from Duke campus

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Khalil Wilkins


Staff Writer

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A gun recovered after a car chase and arrest in Edgecombe County late last month has been identified as one stolen in June from the parking lot of Duke University Hospital.

The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Thursday about an arrest on Nov. 22 during a joint operation between the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office and the Tarboro Police Department.

During the operation. Lt. E.W. Muse of the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office and Lt. Rick Mann of the Tarboro Police Department observed suspicious behavior by a man in east Tarboro and began pursuit of the suspect’s vehicle. According to the press release,  “the person sped away in a vehicle blowing through stop signs and eventually ending up on US 64 Bypass. Edgecombe County deputies got the person stopped at the U.S. 64 Alternate exit in Rocky Mount.”

As deputies approached the vehicle, they reportedly noted the smell of marijuana coming from the car. A deputy removed the driver, Khalil Wilkins, from the vehicle and officers initiated a search of the vehicle, which led to the discovery of a handgun in Wilkins’s seat. A check of the firearm revealed that the weapon had been reported stolen by the Duke University Campus Police.

Duke spokesman Keith Lawrence told the Telegram on Friday that the weapon had been reported stolen to the Duke University Campus Police on June 17. The weapon was reportedly stolen from a car parked in the Duke University Hospital parking lot at or about that time, Lawrence said.

During the search of Wilkins’s vehicle, law enforcement officers also found a brick, or roughly 50 bags, of heroin. An additional 40 bags of heroin were found in Wilkins’s pants while he was in the magistrate’s office, the press release said.

Wilkins, 21, was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen gun, trafficking heroin, possession with intent to sell or deliver heroin, maintaining a vehicle for the sale or storage of a controlled substance and aggressive driving. He was jailed under a $900,000 secured bond in the Edgecombe County Detention Center.

Sheriff Clee Atkinson noted that combined efforts with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are critical in fighting crime.

“Our office will continue to foster these partnerships to combat criminal elements in our jurisdiction,” Atkinson said in a written statement.