Johnathan Lamont Hargrove
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Johnathan Lamont Hargrove

Search continues for teenage murder suspect

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

5 Comments | Leave a Comment

Less than four years after a Rocky Mount family endured the death of one son, they are grieving the death of their second son after a Tuesday night shooting in front of their house.

Rocky Mount police said Jose Antonio Martinez, 17, was shot and killed by Johnathan Lamont Hargrove, 18, on the 200 block of Jackson Street. Warrants have been obtained for first-degree murder against Hargrove, but he has not been arrested.

“Investigators believe this act is related to a narcotics transaction that turned violent,” Cpl. Mike Lewis said in a press release.

Benjamin Gonzalez lives nearby and heard the two fateful shots around 10:45 p.m. and rushed out to help.

“We heard his (Martinez’s) girlfriend saying, ‘Why did you do this?’” Gonzalez recalled. “We tried CPR, but it didn’t work. Nothing worked.”

Gonzalez had seen the teen grow up after moving to the South Rocky Mount neighborhood from Honduras as a child. He said the Sept. 13, 2010, shooting of the victim’s elder brother, Francisco Aurelio Kelly, in Raleigh was hard on the entire family, but especially on Martinez.

Family members of Martinez said despite dropping out of school, the teen was pursuing his General Educational Development requirements while working at Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi. Martinez reportedly had just finished working and met up with his girlfriend of nearly three years at his house when he was shot.

“He was a nice guy with his mama,” a family member of Martinez said. “He was a good brother.”

The victim’s sisters from Virginia and Illinois will join extended family as they help his mother cope with the loss of her second son.

Anyone with information on Hargrove’s whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 977-1111 or Text a tip to police at 274637 by beginning messages with RMPOL to direct the tip to the Rocky Mount Police Department and type up to 155 characters about the information.



Regardless of what he was doing that landed him in this situation, he is still someones son, brother, cousin, friend. As a mother I cant imagine losing my child, much less two. Certainly not burying my head in the sand, and i am completely aware of whats happening to our home and it makes me sick that our "leaders" are more consumed with what else they can put downtown than cleaning up the mess we already have. You can dress it up anyway you like but downtown will remain downtown as long as things remain the same!

"He was a nice guy with his

"He was a nice guy with his mama, he was a good brother" Hate to say it but he was dealing drugs, yea, real nice guy.


It's good to pray but when prayer becomes a half baked as excuse to do nothing then what good is prayer. These people need their lives restored and the Faith Base Community can't and will not get the job done now that's sad.


My heart cries for this mother and the rest of the family. Our young people are dying at the hands of their peers. My prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends.

As the city council and PD

bury their heads in the sand and turn their backs on the wars taken place on our city streets with drugs and crime or pretend it's not as bad as some say you had better pray that none of your loved ones are victim of this nonexistent crime and violence.

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