A man police initially identified as the “suspected shooter” who wounded two people at the Nash County Courthouse on Tuesday was released, apparently after authorities confirmed his cousin’s claim that he was with her at a Walmart at the time of the shooting.
Tamiko Nicole Jenkins of Pinetops told investigators that the man they had arrested, Ontarious Montre Lewis, 23, of Rocky Mount, had been in court Tuesday morning. But, Jenkins said, Lewis left court and was with her shopping when someone fired into a crowd on the steps of the courthouse later that morning.
The two men who were hit, Donte’a Evans, 34, and Lamar Ricks, 31, were reported to be in critical condition Wednesday at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
After his arrest, Lewis was questioned late Tuesday, then freed, according to Thomasi Bashore, Nashville’s police chief.
Bashore declined to say why Lewis had been released or why he was arrested in the first place, and directed inquiries to the Nash County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Richard Jenkins could not be reached Wednesday.
Authorities say they are still looking for Demond Levar Morris, 36, to question him, Bashore said. In a statement Wednesday, he said investigators are “currently working on several leads into the shooting” but provided no details.
Police announced a $10,000 reward for information that leads to arrests and convictions in the case.
Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the shooting, but Jenkins on Tuesday said that the two victims were targeted. Witnesses said a single gunman appeared to be waiting for them to come out of the courthouse and that he fired into a small crowd.
State records show that the shooting victims and Morris all live in Rocky Mount’s North Raleigh Street neighborhood.