WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Police say two consecutive shootings that wounded three adults and an 11-year-old girl in Winston-Salem on Easter night were not connected, but may have been committed by the same suspects.
The first shooting took place when an argument broke out within a large group of people in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 900 block of East 2nd Street around 11 p.m. Before the gunfire, police said four suspects walked away from the argument and got inside a large, four-door vehicle.
As the vehicle began driving away, one of the passengers got out and began firing into the crowd with a semi-automatic high-powered rifle, police said. Three victims were struck in the parking lot, including Ashley Nicole Clark, 23, Corey Donte Raiford, 34, and Penny Yvette Eldridge, 50.
“I was terrified,” said Sabrina Pledger, who witnessed the shooting. “I just heard the gunshots going off… And I heard Penny: ‘Oh my God! Oh my God I’ve been shot!”
Stray rounds from the gunfire struck inside several nearby apartments, but nobody inside was injured.
“I mean you have kids in every single apartment,” said Shatora Myers, whose cousin lives in one of the apartments that was damaged by stray bullets. “And a high-powered gun at that… That could have hit anybody!”
One stray bullet also struck a gas meter, causing a natural gas leak and prompting a temporary evacuation.
“This is a very serious shooting,” Winston-Salem police Capt. David Clayton said. “Many people could have been seriously injured or even killed because of the manner in which bullets were flying.”
The suspect vehicle was seen driving away toward Highway 52, and within minutes a second shooting was reported on I-40 West near the Stratford Road exit.
Tammie Evette McClenny, 48, told police she was approaching the exit when a vehicle with a similar description began traveling alongside her sedan. Soon after the vehicle began traveling beside her’s, several shots were fired into McClenny’s car.
The gunfire struck McClenny’s 11-year-old daughter in the back, shattered multiple windows and burst a tire, police said.
McClenny’s daughter was taken to an area hospital where she was listed in stable condition as of 10 a.m., Clayton said.
Clayton said none of the injuries in either of the shootings appear to be life-threatening.
Police are leading the investigation and have not released a clear motive.
“These kids are terrified for their lives,” Myers said. “They don’t even want to come outside and play today. It’s ridiculous.”
Investigators believe the consecutive shootings, while unrelated, may have been committed by the same suspects.
McClenny, who was on her way home to Georgia after visiting family in Winston-Salem, was not involved in the argument in the initial shooting, Clayton said. The shooting into her car had nothing to do with the group argument and appeared to be random, he said.
I-40 West was shut down for several hours in the immediate area while investigators gathered evidence from the scene.
The suspects have not been identified and no ample description has been provided.
The suspect vehicle has been described only as a large, dark, and with four doors.