Investigators think revenge behind fatal downtown Raleigh shooting

08/25/2014 8:04 PM

08/25/2014 8:40 PM

Police think a desire for revenge may have fueled a fatal shooting at a downtown nightclub last spring, but they apparently don’t have enough evidence to charge a man who has been a focus of their investigation.

Detectives think a Fayetteville man, Andrew Ellis, 28, may be involved in the shooting death of Vernon Oneal Jones Jr. of Lillington outside of Club Bodie on South West Street on June 1, according to a search warrant made public Monday. Police interviewed Ellis three days after the shooting, and he told them he had never been to the club, according to the warrant.

But in the search warrant affidavit, a homicide detective says Ellis fits “the general description of the shooter from witness accounts” and had ample motive.

Ellis’ wife, Dominique Wiley, was one of two people shot and wounded during a March 25 incident in Linden. A third victim died. Jones was “a person of interest and suspect” in that case, Raleigh detective S.B. Snowden stated in the affidavit.

Jones was never charged in the Linden shootings, but Raleigh investigators say they learned through interviews that Wiley had made threats against Jones for her injuries.

Police were called to Club Bodi about 2:40 a.m. after reports of gunshots fired at the nightclub. After they arrived, officers reported hearing “numerous shots” from a parking lot about a block from the nightclub, where they found Jones face down, according to the court affidavit.

Police interviewed Ellis and his wife on June 4, and Ellis told them he was not in Raleigh the night of the shootings. In the search warrant, Snowden says that “directly contradicts” witnesses who saw him at the nightclub.

Snowden also says in the affidavit that cellphone records police obtained through a court order show cell tower data places Ellis in Raleigh and “in the vicinity of Club Bodi prior to, during and after the shooting of Jones.”

The same data has him traveling back to Fayetteville after the shooting, Snowden stated.

Ellis and Wiley could not be reached for comment Monday.

Prior to Jones’s death, Club Bodi had been plagued by problems in recent years, including shootings, assaults, drug violations and larcenies, according to police records.

Two days after Jones died, the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control board suspended the club’s alcohol license, effectively shutting it down.

Police are asking anyone with information about the June 1 homicide at the club to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-834-4357 or visit raleighcrimestoppers.org for text and email reporting options.

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