Two brothers from Rocky Mount, N.C., have been charged with shooting and wounding two men outside the Nash County courthouse Tuesday morning.
Authorities arrested Demond Levar Morris, 36, early Thursday in Raleigh, said Nash County Sheriff Richard Jenkins.
His brother, Brandon Tremaine Morris, 31, later turned himself in at the sheriff’s office, according to Nashville Police Chief Thomas Bashore.
During a press conference Thursday, Jenkins said he did not know the motive for the shooting. Asked if it could be gang-related, he said, “That’s a possibility, but I have no idea.”
Each brother faces two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, Bashore said. He described Brandon Morris as the one who fired the gun.
Donte’a Evans, 34, and Lamar Ricks, 31, were airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in critical condition shortly after the shooting. They were listed in stable condition Thursday, Jenkins said.
A third man whom police had suspected in the shooting was arrested Tuesday but released after police established that he was elsewhere when the shots were fired at the courthouse.
Ontarious Montre Lewis, 23, was released after questioning Tuesday night. Jenkins said he didn’t see any reason to apologize to Lewis.
“That’s the way we do things,” he said. “We found out that he didn’t do anything wrong, and we cut him loose.”
Lewis’s cousin, Gerald Cox, owns Elite Cuts, a barbershop near the Weeks Armstrong Homes on the east side of Rocky Mount where Evans lives.
Cox, 51, knows the victims and the suspects and said everyone involved, including his cousin, have bad reputations that preceded Tuesday’s shooting.
He said he was relieved that police released Lewis after another family member told them she was with him at Walmart when the shootings occurred.
“Walmart got the best security in the world. They are like Big Brother,” Cox said. “I’m just glad the police let him go after seeing him on videotape. They could have held him for 40 or 50 days. It’s a blessing how that went.”
Cox was dumbfounded that someone would whip out a gun and shoot someone in front of a courthouse.
“Who does that?” Cox asked in wonder. “John Gotti wouldn’t shot nobody in front of the courthouse.”
The Morris brothers and the men they are charged with shooting all have long criminal records. Demond Morris was in and out of prison between 1997 and 2007 for drug-related convictions, state records show.
Brandon Morris was scheduled to appear in Nash County Court on Wednesday on traffic-related charges; fleeing to elude arrest, aggressive driving and failure to heed a light or siren.
He has pending court dates in Nash County Superior Court for felony possession of marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the sale of a controlled substance, state records show.
Brandon Morris was convicted in Randolph County in 2010 for the felony sale of marijuana and in Edgecombe County for misdemeanor child abuse, state records show.
Jenkins, the sheriff, said the Morris brothers were cooperating with the investigation.
“They are brothers,” Jenkins replied when asked about their involvement in the shootings. “People try to look out for their family members.”
On Wednesday, police offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in the case. It was not clear Thursday whether anyone seeking the reward had helped police find the Morris brothers.