Clinton Police are investigation another shooting death within the city limits following an apparent verbal altercation between two men that turned physical and ultimately ended in gunfire. The incident, which happened at a Kennedy Street residence on Friday, was still under investigation with a murder charge brought late Friday night.
Around 1:03 p.m. Friday, Clinton Police officers were dispatched to a reported shots fired call at Butler Avenue and Kennedy Street. Officers arrived and located Edward Best, 33, at his home at 800 Kennedy St., Clinton, with injuries to his face.
The injuries did not appear to be consistent with a gunshot, police said in a release Friday evening. EMS was called to the scene, but Best did not wish to be transported.
About the same time officers were arriving at Kennedy Street, police learned that an apparent gunshot victim had just arrived at Sampson Regional Medical Center. The gunshot victim, identified as Kaleef Johnson, of 4740 Bearskin Road, had been taken to the hospital in a private vehicle. The investigation quickly revealed the two incidents were related, police officials said.
“The initial investigation indicates Mr. Best was at his home on Kennedy Street and was arguing with a female with whom he has children. Kaleef Johnson, who has a relationship with the female, along with Mr. Johnson’s brother, Michael Lofton, came to the home and became involved in the argument,” police stated.
“The argument turned physical,” authorities said, leaving Best with injuries to head and face. “At some point, Best shot Johnson,” the police statement read. Lofton drove his brother from Kennedy Street to the Sampson Regional Emergency Department. While life-saving measures were attempted at the hospital, Johnson was pronounced dead.
Investigators recovered a handgun from the home. All the details about the argument and subsequent shooting were still being investigated Friday evening, said Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards, who noted at the time that charges had not brought against Best or anybody else.
However, Best was charged later Friday night with murder. He was reportedly taken into custody and placed in the Sampson County Detention Center without privilege of bond.
Johnson’s shooting death is the fourth murder in Clinton since the beginning of September
A deadly assault with a metal pipe on Lisbon Street Sept. 4 ended with the arrest of a 46-year-old Clinton man. A fatal stabbing at a family gathering on Harmon Street on Sept. 19 resulted in charges against a 39-year-old California man in the death of his uncle. And four days after the Harmon Street incident, on Sept. 23, a 24-year-old Clinton man was shot dead on Eastover Terrace.
That Eastover incident, like Friday’s shooting death, is still under investigation.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Clinton Police Department, at 910-592-3105. Information can be given anonymously through the CPDtip line at 910-590-3009, or by texting it to 847411, beginning the message with “tipcpd.”
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.