Dispute led to Benson shooting of man, 51, police say

Police say a man found dead in a street outside apartments was James Auther Smith Jr., a 51-year-old town resident who they believe was shot during a dispute involving several people about midnight Sunday.

Police also have identified what Chief Kenneth O. Edwards called a person of interest and have seized that person’s car and Smith’s car as evidence in the case.

Smith, of Lot 60 in the Gains Mobile Home Park, was found dead in front of 3 Coats Circle, a community of one-story apartment buildings off North Honeycutt Road.

Edwards said police interviewed people through the night after Smith was found following a call about shots being fired.

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office and the county district attorney’s office had joined police in the investigation, Edwards said.