Accused Vanceboro shooter slapped with additional charges - WNCN: News, Weather

Accused Vanceboro shooter slapped with additional charges

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VANCEBORO, N.C. -

The man suspected of shooting tree trimmers in Vanceboro last week is facing new charges today.

The district attorney tells 9 On Your Side they hit John Jenkins with new charges after he left the hospital Wednesday.

The 82-year-old now faces 3-counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
     
Jenkins is suspected of shooting 3 men with a shotgun last Tuesday. Deputies shot Jenkins at the scene.
     
He's now in custody in Raleigh, because he requires additional medical treatment.
     
He's under a $2-million bond and will appear in court September 19.

--- Previous Story ---

New details are surfacing on the criminal history of the accused gunman in the Vanceboro shooting spree.

It turns out he's no stranger to the law. The Craven County Sheriff's Office has been called to his house dozens of times.

"I know they've indicated they've had some contact with him in the past," said Craven County district attorney Scott Thomas.

Jenkins' contact with law enforcement spans all the way back to 1990, the year when the Craven County Sheriff's Office started keeping electronic records instead of recording them by hand.

The Craven County Sheriff's Office says John Jenkins' name has been listed in 18 criminal cases, 13 incidents, 7 subpoenas, and two property cases in the last 23 years.

Most recently, Jenkins was charged with assault for shooting two tree trimmers and a neighbor, before being shot himself by law enforcement.

Jenkins has been charged with assault before, and arrested: once in 1990, the again two years later.

The sheriff's office says in ‘92, Jenkins ran over his brother Curtis with a tractor. Curtis reported he was raking stones out of a ditch near his property, when John blindsided him.

Curtis went to CarolinaEast Medical Center with injuries to his hips and spine, but the sheriff's office says it's likely the case never went to court.

9 On Your Side spoke to Curtis Jenkins' widow, Martha Jenkins. She says her husband and her brother-in-law, John Jenkins, did not get along well.

"I don't believe he [Jenkins] has any prior criminal convictions I this area. We'll certainly do a national criminal check as part of the investigation," said Thomas.

Jenkins himself has called the sheriff's office several times.

In 1997, he reported someone fired a gun near his property, but he was unable to provide a suspect or vehicle description, so the case went nowhere.

In 2012, he reported a possible breaking and entering after someone damaged his attic door lock. Two ADT surveillance cameras at his house did not show who may have broken the lock.

And in January 2013, he reported someone stole his Smith and Wesson .38 caliber pistol off his car hood or front porch banister.

Jenkins reportedly had ongoing medical problems. Sources say for that reason, if he does get arrested after getting out of the hospital, he'll likely to be sent to the central prison in Raleigh, where there's a hospital.

The sheriff's office says Jenkins is still in the hospital and is expected to survive.

-- Previous story --

Authorities have identified the suspect in random shooting spree in Vanceboro that sent three people, plus the accused gunman, to the hospital on Tuesday.

District Attorney Scott Thomas and Craven County Sheriff Jerry Monette made the information public in a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

82-year-old John Aites Jenkins of Vanceboro is charged with one count of Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury. More charges are expected to follow.

Investigators say two workers for Townsend Tree Service were clearing underbrush near a church on Streets Ferry Road when Jenkins allegedly appeared on the scene and began firing at them with a shotgun.

41-year-old Brian Lee Holden and 38-year-old Angelo Tavares Williams were injured in the incident. Williams was struck by pellets in his face and Holden was hit by pellets in his mid-torso. Jenkins allegedly also fired a revolver at Holden, who had hidden behind a vehicle.

"It appears he was upset with the tree service for some reason," said district attorney Scott Thomas.

Jenkins is then accused of going to another location on Streets Ferry Road, where two Townsend Tree Service bucket trucks were located, and fired shots at both elevated buckets, in which there were workers for the tree service.

A Craven County deputy and Vanceboro police officer responding to the incident gave chase, trying to get Jenkins to stop and get out of his truck, but he continued down Streets Ferry Road.

He's accused of then firing at 73-year-old Bill Arthur Dail, who was trying to flag down passing cars to warn them to avoid the area. Dail sustained injuries to the side of his head, face, and hand.

Vanceboro Police Officer Jason Lovick fired at Jenkins, still sitting in his truck, wounding him to the side of his face and head.

All three victims were taken to area hospitals for treatment and have since been released.

Jenkins is listed in critical condition.

Because the incident included an officer-involved shooting, the State Bureau of Investigation is investigating Tuesday's shooting as is standard procedure. The Craven County Sheriff's Office is continuing its investigation into the incident.

Stay with 9 On Your Side for more details as they become available.

--- Previous Story ---

Craven County deputies say they got a call just before 5 Tuesday afternoon about shots fired on Streets Ferry Road in Vanceboro.

Sheriff's deputies swarmed the scene where a group of tree trimmers working for Townsend Trees scrambled for their lives. Sources say they were doing vegetation work in the area for Duke Energy when a man, who was driving up and down the road, just started randomly shooting at them.

Lacey Dail says she had just pulled up to her driveway when she heard gunshots.

"I heard bam, bam, bam. I was going over to the neighbors to see what happened and I seen Billie fall on the ground. Then I see everybody running out where he was, and my neighbor had come over and told me that my father-in-law had been shot," said Dail.

Witnesses say Billie heard the shooting and came out to see what was going on. They say, when Billie's realized it was a shooting, he started telling cars to turn around so they wouldn't get hurt. Deputies say that's when the suspect shot Billie in the back.

"It was really bad. I was hoping he didn't get shot. I thought he just ducked and rolled, but he did," said Dail.

Dail's mother, Lisa Henderson, says she got a frantic call from her daughters during the shooting.

"I got a call from my daughter about 4:55, and the younger one, she was utterly hysterical. All she said was Papa Billie got shot," said Henderson.

Investigators say after the shooter shot Billie, two officers shot the suspect.  

The three people who were hit were taken to area hospitals and were last reported to be in serious condition. At least one of them is still at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Duke Energy released the following statement about the incident Wednesday morning, "Our thoughts go out to all of the victims and their families who were involved in yesterday's events. The safety of our employees, contractors and customers is paramount. We are working closely with Townsend Tree Company – whose employees were contracted by Duke Energy for routine vegetation management work – and together, we are cooperating fully with local and state law enforcement officials in their investigation."

A source close to the investigation confirms the suspected gunman is John Jenkins of Vanceboro. He's believed to be in his 70s or 80s.

Neighbors say he owns property on Streets Ferry Road, where the shootings happened. They also say he's paranoid about people being on his land.

"He does have a short fuse and is known, the person that I know, he said that he does things that are unexpected. This is of course, something is unexpected," said Mike Dawson, who lives in the suspect's neighborhood.

"I've met him a few times. Sometimes he's real nice, sometime he's quick to be kind of, gets real irritated easily," said Dawson.  He says Jenkins had a reputation for being paranoid about people on his property.

"He's had quite a few things stolen from him. [He] is real paranoid," said Dawson. "[He] thinks everyone is out to get him."

He says if it was Jenkins, he's not surprised.

"Maybe they messed his yard up, some of the land he's got, I don't know," said Dawson. He says the suspect has even shot at other people who have been on his land.

"I don't know if he shot above them or shot in the air, but he shot at them," said Dawson.

Joshua Dunn says he's seen Jenkins several times at a nearby corner store wearing a Korean War veteran hat. He says he's not sure what could have led to the shootings, but nothing could have justified the violence that took place.

Neighbors say Jenkins was married and was often seen with his wife.

9 On Your Side went to Jenkins' house to get his family's side of the story, but no one answered the door.

Stay with 9 On Your Side and wnct.com as we get more information.

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