Sheriff Wes Tripp told reporters in Halifax today that he believes the shootings, one in which a15-year-old boy was killed at Eleventh and Maple streets, and one in which a 2-year-old girl died on Cedar Street, are related.
Tripp declined to go into detail, but did say one of the reasons the murders are believed to be related is because of the closeness of the times they occurred and the relatively short distance they were from one another. The Eleventh and Maple streets shooting occurred around 9:45 p.m. while the Cedar Street shooting occurred around 12:30 this morning.
Tripp said in the shooting that occurred in the Eleventh Street area known as The Strip, the 15-year-old and a 17-year-old and 20-year-old male were ambushed by people coming out of nearby woods. Different caliber shell casings were collected, he said.
Tripp declined to elaborate on whether he thought the motive in The Strip shooting was a possible robbery attempt. The 17-year-old and 20-year-old, who the sheriff declined to immediately name, were treated and released.
Meanwhile, Weldon police Chief Mark Macon said the Cedar Street shooting, where 2-year-old Diana Anderson was killed and her grandmother, 54-year-old Catherine Price was critically wounded, remains under investigation.
Macon declined to discuss how close the shooter was to the house. While he could not say if the grandmother and child were specifically targeted, he did call it a deliberate act.
As of this report, Macon said the police department, sheriff's office and State Bureau of Investigation are working proactively to solve the case, passing out flyers and setting up checking stations.
Both Tripp and Macon expressed sympathy to the family of the victims.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the sheriff's office at 252-583-1991; the police department at 252-536-3136 or Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444.