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A gunman opened fire outside a busy store in the middle of the afternoon on Labor Day. It happened around 1:30 p.m. at J and K County Store off Gordon Road in York County. One man is in the hospital and three others are in custody.
"There was a lot of children out here, a lot of people could have been hurt," Owner Karen Starkey said. "It was just crazy to open fire on one person when you got a parking lot full of people."
Karen and Jaime Starkey run the small country store near Gordon Road and Highway 322. The clerk and witnesses told them what they saw.
"They told us that a Mercedes was coming down the road, and turned around in the yard -- had three people in it," Jaime said. "And one of them got out, and was waiting for the boy to come out of the store and started firing on him."
Bullets flew. The victim was hit by one of those bullets and had to be taken to CMC, but is expected to recover. The three men took off.
"One of them started running up the road, and the other two in the Mercedes left," Jaime said.
But deputies quickly caught up to them, and now all three are in custody.
As students and community members entered the First Presbyterian Church in Hickory Monday afternoon, there was scripture taped to the door. Organizers were hoping to do everything they could to comfort a community in mourning.
"Grief is a very real thing but hope exists," said the Rev. Heather Wood Davis.
Jay Robertson, 17, was killed in a car crash Sunday evening. Police say he was riding down 6th Street with his friend, 17-year-old David Engelmann, when Engelmann lost control and the car flipped.
Teens gathered at the scene of the crash, and left flowers at Robertson’s parking spot at Hickory High School. They're in disbelief their friend is gone. Grief counselors will be at school Tuesday to help students sort this all out.
"He was crazy but we loved him," said Connor Stirewalt. "He was our boy. He made us laugh all the time."
"He was invincible," said Dylan Tashjian. "We all thought nothing like this would ever happen to him."
Dominique Canahai happened to be driving by Sunday night and was one of the first on scene. She says Robertson was lying on the ground but Engelmann was still inside the car and she was able to help him out. She took this picture of him at the scene.
"And I told him 'Are you OK?' and I was like praying to myself like God please help this kid," Canahai said.
Police say speed and alcohol caused the crash. Engelmann is charged with felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired among other charges. We're told he is an Eagle Scout with a good reputation. Some believe the charges are too much.
"The punishment with him having to live the rest of his life with his friend being gone because of him is just unbearable in my opinion," Tashjian said.
Engelmann is out of jail on $10,000 bond.
A judge ordered another psychiatric evaluation for a man accused of raping and killing his cousin in her south Charlotte apartment four years ago.
Derek Ward has bounced between jail, mental hospitals and state prison since his arrest.
He has filed papers in federal court to try to force prosecutors to take him to trial or release him.
After police arrested Ward in May 2010, he told them he had strangled his cousin to “rid her of demons.” Three months later, a psychiatrist who examined him wrote that Ward “appeared delusional.”
She said he claimed to party with lots of celebrities and that “He made statements about being able to control spaceships.”
Ward was sent to Broughton State Mental Hospital in Morganton, where he was charged with assaulting a staffer, breaking her nose and cheekbone. Since then, he has been in a medical ward at Central Prison in Raleigh. Doctors still say he is incapable of going to trial.
In the case he filed in federal court six weeks ago, Ward insists he is innocent. He also said he was being forced to get mental health treatment, and “being viciously drugged by force with a Belgian drug of torture.”
Ward repeated to a judge when he appeared at the courthouse last week that he is innocent and wants to go to trial.
“He can’t be put to trial; he can’t even plead guilty now even if he says he wants to plead guilty unless and until he’s found competent,” said legal analyst Tony Scheer.
Scheer, a former prosecutor, said if that does not happen, prosecutors may face the real possibility of dismissing the murder and rape charges, and committing Ward to a state mental hospital.
“It scares everybody to take an alleged murderer and put him into the civil instead of the criminal system, but that’s how the statute’s written. And I think it’s for a reason, so people won’t spend month after month coming back to court and talking about what they cannot do,” Scheer said.
Prosecutors may have one more chance at a trial. Ward agreed in court to undergo another test at Central Prison by the same psychiatrist who has examined him twice before.