On Sunday December 15. 2019 at about 2:00 pm Beaufort County Emergency Communications received a 911 call about a 5-year-old child shot while inside the home at 12100 NC Hwy 33 E, Chocowinity. Members of the Blount's Creek Fire Department, Chocowinity EMS, Beaufort County EMS and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office responded and found the victim suffering from a single gunshot wound just above her groin. The victim was transported to Vidant Beaufort and later transferred to Vidant Pitt.
The original reporting person stated someone was shooting through the woods, leading Deputies to believe the child may have been struck by a stray bullet from a hunter's rifle. Beaufort County Sheriff's Investigators and NC Wildlife Officers responded to the scene to begin an inquiry into the shooting.
At the scene investigators learned 2 bullets struck the back, south side of the home penetrating the outside wall. One struck the child while another bullet was found lying on the carpet a few feet from where the child was standing when she was hit. The bullet recovered from the floor, was weighed, measured and found to be consistent in size and weight with that of a small 22 caliber.
About 50 minutes after the call Deputies located 2 unnamed men hunting on Weyerhaeuser land about 570 yards south east of the home. The men were detained for questioning. They were cooperative and after being questioned by Investigators & Wildlife Officers, consented to a search of their person and vehicle. They were found in possession of high-powered rifles, which fire a much larger bullet than the one found at the scene. They were also found to be in compliance with all Wildlife Regulations and released. There were no other hunters located in the area.
Since the shooting Investigators have conducted multiple interviews. None of the interviews or evidence collected at the scene have led them to the identity of the shooter.
The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office asks, if you have any information about this incident, please call the Criminal Investigations Unit at 252-946-7111 or Beaufort County Crime Stoppers at 252-974-6400.
- Sheriff Ernie Coleman
- Beaufort County Sheriff's Office