Dogwood patrols heightened

Dogwood Circle, where a murder occurred Friday night, is the site of increased police enforcement this week as investigators seek information into the deadly shooting.

Clinton Police have stepped up patrols as they seek any information that could assist in apprehending those responsible for the murder of a Newton Grove man, shot at a Clinton housing complex during a late-night altercation Friday.

Eric Tyrique Teachey, 27, was found dead following the fatal shooting at around 11 p.m. Friday in the area of Dogwood Circle. Teachey’s body was found between two apartments at the complex.

“We’ve gotten some leads but there’s still a long ways to go,” Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley said Monday. “There were a lot of people outside the apartment complex so we know there were a lot of witnesses. We just need them to come forward.”

Teachey sustained a single gunshot wound, which entered his left arm and exited his chest, striking his heart along the way, Sampson County Medical Examiner Dr. Carl Barr said Monday.

“It pierced a portion of his heart and he bled extensively internally,” Dr. Barr noted. “To me it looked as if he was running away from the street and between the two buildings (when he was shot).”

Tilley said investigators believe an altercation occurred between Teachey and one or more suspects in one of the apartment complexes and that argument spilled outside, however any suspects or motive in the deadly shooting had not yet been established. Officers with the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Team (NIT) and the State Bureau of Investigation initiated a probe into the homicide and NIT officers were on the scene Monday.

“There was some type of altercation in the apartment complex with one or more suspects. We’re not sure what prompted the altercation, but we responded to a call of shots fired,” Tilley said Monday. Since that time, patrols have been stepped up and the neighborhood canvassed for any information. That was continuing this week.

Dogwood Circle is located off of Barden Street, which extends down to the Sampson Center gym on one end of Barden and busy Fayetteville Street on the other end, a stone’s throw from downtown Clinton and Sunset Avenue School. The area has also been the site of an extensive city sidewalk project in recent weeks and this year has actually enjoyed a decline in reported crime.

Tilley said there have been 18 reported incidents at Dogwood Circle since the beginning of 2014, just three since the start of this year. The Police Department has one full-time housing officer assigned to Dogwood as part of a contract with the Eastern Carolina Regional Housing Authority.

“I think we’ve had some great success in keeping crime down there,” the police chief said.

The three incidents in 2015 have included two shootings, including Friday’s murder and a robbery and shooting earlier this year.

In April, Robert Andrew Daquan Williams, 22, of Turkey, was charged with one count each of robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the shooting of Keasto Rashod Loftin, 28, of Clinton. Williams fled the scene following the alleged robbery and was taken into custody by Raleigh Police Department, acting on information provided by Clinton Police, just two days later.

Tilley said the majority of the incidents at Dogwood since the start of 2014 have been property crimes, and the shootings are the exception to the rule. Still, he sought to assure residents that the matter was being investigated thoroughly and was not being taken lightly.

“The NIT team is down there now,” Tilley said late Monday. “We’ve also stepped up our patrol operations for that area so everyone would feel a little more secure.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 910-592-3105 or the CPD TIP line at 910-590-3009. Citizens may also provide information by the Police Department’s anonymous two-way texting service. This can be done by simply texting any information about the crime to 847411 beginning with the code word “tipcpd” followed by the message.