Spring Lake homicide marks return to full authority for police - WNCN: News, Weather

Spring Lake homicide marks return to full authority for police

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Jerri D. Davis, 34, is charged with first-degree murder. Jerri D. Davis, 34, is charged with first-degree murder.
SPRING LAKE, N.C. -

The shooting death of Cary McLean in Spring Lake on Saturday is the first homicide in seven years that the town's police force has had the authority to investigate on its own.

Spring Lake Police lost its power to investigate felonies in 2007 when the district attorney questioned the department's ability to competently handle those cases. In 2009, the department lost even more power -- including the authority to investigate misdemeanors -- after two supervising officers were arrested.

When Troy McDuffie took over as police chief in December 2009, he began working to restore the department to its full capabilities. By the end of 2011, Spring Lake police officers were back to patrolling and investigating all cases except homicides. That final power was restored in June 2013.

McLean's murder is the first homicide since then and also the first in nearly three years in Spring Lake.

McDuffie said it has been his major goal to completely restore the department's authority. He said investigating everything including homicides is a duty that he is happy to be able to fulfill again. He believes having a fully operating department will show the public that his department is capable of living up to its responsibilities.

Aside from McLean's family, one woman who hopes for arrests in McLean's murder is Tameeka Groves. Several stray bullets went into her mobile home during the shooting early Saturday morning on D Street.

Some of those bullets went all the way through her home and out the other side. Some bullets even pierced pots and pans that were sitting on top of her refrigerator.

She said she grabbed her two sons, ages 6 and 8, and held them to the floor until the shooting stopped.

"I just didn't want to have to pull my babies up and see them bleeding or dead or anything like that," Groves said. "That was my biggest thing."

Groves recently moved from Johnston County, but over the weekend she felt she needed to take her sons back to see their father and family friends.

In order to get away for the weekend, she said she spent money on travel, food and a hotel room, but now she is worried about paying her bills. She hopes to save up enough money to move -- not because she is worried about another shooting, but simply to put her mind at ease.

Spring Lake police are searching for Jerri D. Davis, 34, who is charged with first-degree murder in McLean's death. Police said David committed the murder along with several other unidentified suspects and pending charges are forthcoming on these individuals once they are identified.

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Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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