Shooting suspects sought

Published 9:55 am Monday, April 25, 2016

ST. JOHN – Two brothers are sought in connection with a shooting that occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 17 at a nightclub located on the outskirts of the St. John community.

Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan said warrants have been drawn for the arrest of Jermaine L. Dukes, 26, of 2320 NC 305, Rich Square, and 31-year-old McCoy M. Dukes Jr. of 1538 NC Highway 561 West, Aulander.

Jermaine Dukes

Jermaine Dukes

Vaughan stated that Jermaine Dukes is allegedly the “trigger man” in the shooting. He is wanted for attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Warrants were also drawn on McCoy Dukes Jr. (aka “JR”) for aid and abetting attempted murder, and aid and abetting assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill.

Vaughan said both men are considered to be armed and dangerous. If spotted, Vaughan encouraged the public not to approach either man; only report their location and vehicle description by calling the Sheriff’s Office at 252-358-7800.

The Sheriff said a call came into the Sheriff’s Office at 12:23 a.m. on Sunday regarding shots being fired at Club 561, located at 1353 NC 561 West. There, several witnesses told HCSO Investigator Tom Helms that a verbal altercation occurred outside the front door in the parking lot of the nightclub followed by the sound of gunshots. Witnesses said they heard three or four shots.

The victim, 31-year-old Anthony M. Leary of Kelford, was struck twice by gunshots to his abdomen area. Helms’ report showed the after being shot, Leary went back inside the club and slumped over in a chair at which time the owner of the establishment called 9-1-1.

However, before the ambulance arrived, Leary was transported by private vehicle to Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. From there he was transferred to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville where he was initially listed in critical condition.

Sheriff Vaughan said Helms broadened his investigation into the shooting, interviewing several other witnesses.

“We got a break in this case when Tom (Helms) was able to track down the victim’s brother, Dermain Overton, who was with him when he was shot,” Vaughan said.

According to the statement from the victim’s brother, he said they arrived at the nightclub and shortly thereafter his brother struck up a conversation inside with a woman he knew from Rich Square.

McCoy Dukes Jr.

McCoy Dukes Jr.

“At that point, McCoy Dukes approached the victim and told him that his brother (Jermaine) was seeing that woman,” Vaughan stated. “At some point during that conversation, Dermain (Overton) joined in followed by Jermaine Dukes, and that basically led to an argument between all four men.”

The verbal altercation spilled outside the club at which time Overton alleged he saw McCoy Dukes hand a revolver, possibly a .38 caliber, to Jermaine Dukes.

“At that point, the information we have shows that McCoy Duke rushes towards Mr. Leary, and he (Leary) struck McCoy Dukes with his fist, knocking him down,” Vaughan said. “Then, Jermaine Duke is alleged to have used the revolver to shoot Mr. Leary.”

The two suspects were seen leaving the nightclub in a gray or silver Mercedes.

Vaughan said subsequent investigation leads him to believe that vehicle (NC registration PAD 9629) is owned by Tyrell Dukes, the younger brother of the two suspects. It is believed that the younger brother and/or the two suspects either live or frequent the Union Trailer Park.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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