A 4-year-old little boy remains in critical but stable condition, and on life support, nearly two weeks after being shot by an intruder trying to plow his way into the youngster’s bedroom where he and his parents had barricaded themselves.
And, county investigators are continuing to search for a suspect or suspects responsible for the Plantation Lane home invasion.
“There are no new leads at this point in time,” stressed Sampson County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Pope. “We are, however, still asking anyone who might have information on this case or the other recent home invasions to come forward with that information.”
Up to $10,000 in reward money is being offered — by the Sheriff’s Department and the Governor’s Office — for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for critically injuring the youngster in the Nov. 16 home invasion.
But right now, Pope said, new information has been slow to come in about the crime, which Sheriff Jimmy Thornton speculated a week ago could be targeting seasonal farm workers, many of Hispanic descent.
“This should not be happening,” Thornton stressed at a press conference Nov. 19. “We can’t solve this on our own; we need the community’s help. It’s the people’s responsibility and obligation to let us know what is going on. We cannot do this alone.”
Pope would not comment on how many, if any, tips had been provided since Thornton’s urgent plea just over a week ago. In fact, very few details are being provided about the home invasion, the victims or the suspects as Sampson County Sheriff’s officers and State Bureau of Investigation agents track leads and corroborate information.
“This is all part of an active investigation, so if we provide too many details it can very easily rule out the validity of information provided to us,” Pope said. “If it appears in the newspaper and then we get a call, it will be much more difficult to corroborate the factual information.”
There have been no recent home invasions in the county, the last happening just a short time after the youngster was shot when three gun-wielding suspects broke into a 2285 Turkey Highway residence, in a Hispanic labor camp, stealing a television but not injuring anyone during the incident.
Pope would not speculate as to why the incidents have died down, acknowledging only that it could be possible that the suspects are laying low after the most violent of the incidents took place.
“We can only assume that they are doing that. I don’t know that for certain.”
While the home invasions are seemingly not random acts, Thornton has continued to urge residents to be vigilant, looking out for themselves and their neighbors, and he has continued to make impassioned pleas to those who might know something about the home invasions or those responsible for them, urging them to come forward.
“The people responsible for these crimes don’t deserve to be on the streets; they need to be behind bars,” the sheriff said at the press conference.
“Somebody out there knows something,” he stressed. “We are urging them to come forward with that information.”