Ahoskie Police probe fatal shooting

Published 8:33 am Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AHOSKIE – The Ahoskie Police have launched an investigation into a fatal shooting that occurred during the early morning hours of Saturday, May 15.

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh reported that 19-year-old Ivan Jerome Coulton died at 6:51 a.m. Saturday at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

Coulton, a native of Ahoskie, was a student-athlete at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro where he had just completed his freshman year. The former Hertford County High School football player had signed a scholarship in February of last year to play with the Aggies, but was not on the 2009 roster.

“We were expecting big things from Ivan in 2010. He was really working hard in the classroom and in the weight room,” Aggies head football coach Alonzo Lee said in a Sunday interview with a reporter from WFMY TV in Greensboro.

The TV station also reported that NC A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin is asking the university family to remember Coulton and his family during this difficult time.

APD officers found Coulton lying on Catherine Street shortly past 1 a.m. He was transported by Hertford County EMS to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital and later taken by an EastCare ground unit to Pitt Memorial.

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday in Greenville, but was moved to today (Tuesday).

“We have this shooting under investigation and have developed a person of interest,” Fitzhugh said.

He added that APD detectives, Lt. Jeremy Roberts and Sgt. Stephen White, are following up on leads and conducting interviews.

“We will not stop our efforts until we have made an arrest in this case,” Fitzhugh said.

The Chief said a call was placed to the APD after midnight concerning a disturbance at BJ’s, a nightclub located in the 200 block of East Main Street. APD officers were dispatched to the scene, where Fitzhugh said they found a large and unruly crowd and shut the club down at 12:50 a.m. due to safety concerns.

Fitzhugh said that upon shutting the club down, officers then responded to a large crowd on First and Maple Street. “Next, my officers responded to a fight and gun shots being fired on Catherine Street,” Fitzhugh reported. “An officer with the Ahoskie PD on foot ran to the gun shot call. There was a large crowd. Once the officer located the victim, the officer called for police and medical assistance.”

But there was another problem awaiting the emergency responders.

“The crowd returned to the scene of the incident and prevented the officers from doing their jobs by crowding the victim,” Fitzhugh said. “Officers had to literally remove people to protect the victim and preserve evidence.”

Personal from numerous law enforcement agencies rushed to Ahoskie to assist in the aftermath of the shooting. Some were diverted to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital where Fitzhugh confirmed another disturbance occurred after the victim had been admitted to the Emergency Room. Allegedly, damage occurred to the hospital’s property, but to what extent is unknown.

Fitzhugh thanked the assistance of the Hertford County, Bertie County and Gates County sheriff’s offices, the Murfreesboro Police Department and the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Those with information on the fatal shooting are urged to contact either Lt. Roberts or Sgt. White at 332-5012 or the Crime Stoppers hotline at 332-4066. All information is kept confidential.

“With the amount of people that were seen out there, someone had to see what took place,” Fitzhugh concluded. “We need your help with coming forward with your information. Please stop by the Police Department so we can take your statements.”