Stephenson captured! (UPDATED)

Published 10:25 am Monday, August 15, 2016

AHOSKIE – The extradition process is underway to bring an alleged murderer back to Ahoskie.

Shakur Deandre Stephenson was captured in Henrico County, VA late Thursday afternoon.

Shakur Deandre Stephenson was arrested Thursday in Henrico County, VA. | File Photo

Shakur Deandre Stephenson was arrested Thursday in Henrico County, VA. | File Photo

Stephenson, age 22 of Murfreesboro, was wanted for the first degree murder of 23-year-old Lakiesha Sutton. She was working as a clerk at Murphy Express in Ahoskie in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Aug. 3 when a disturbance took place in the parking lot of that convenience store located on US 13 south adjacent to the Ahoskie Wal Mart.

Sutton reportedly went outside as a “peacemaker” at which time shots rang out. She died 16 hours later at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

At a press conference held Friday morning at the Ahoskie Police Department, APD Chief Troy Fitzhugh had limited information to share concerning how and where Stephenson was captured, other than to say the arrest was made by the Henrico County Police Department in Richmond, VA.

“I would like to thank the community and the media for assisting us in this process. I believe that without the combined assistance we would still be actively looking for Shakur Stephenson,” Fitzhugh said. “By placing Mr. Stephenson’s photo out (in the public), the media assisted in locating him.”

Fitzhugh added that he was pleased the arrest came quickly.

“It shows that people were looking at the media release that we sent out and the BOLO (Be On The Lookout) we sent out (to other law enforcement agencies); they are the reasons why this arrest was made so quickly,” he stated.

“This (arrest) is definitely not closure (for Sutton’s family) but it does give them some sense of relief,” Fitzhugh noted at the press conference. “Our community is relieved as well in knowing this arrest has been made.”

At the outset of the investigation, the Ahoskie Police were looking to locate and interview Andre Taylor, who was reportedly traveling with Stephenson on the morning of the shooting. Fitzhugh said that interview had taken place and that no charges are pending against Taylor.

“No others are facing charges, but the investigation is continuing,” Fitzhugh said on Friday.

When asked if a murder weapon had been discovered, Fitzhugh answered, “no.” He was also unaware if Stephenson was in possession of a weapon at the time of his arrest on Thursday.

As far as a motive behind the shootings, Fitzhugh said that information remains as part of the investigation. He also refrained from sharing any details if the victims were purposely targeted by the alleged shooter.

Two other males were shot and transported to the Emergency Room at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital where they were later interviewed by Ahoskie Police investigators. Neither suffered life threatening injuries; one was struck by a bullet in his foot while the other was shot in the buttocks. Their names were not released.

On Friday, Fitzhugh did say that one of those victims was later transported from Vidant RCH to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, but believed he has since been released. The other victim was treated and released from Vidant RCH.

Information obtained from those witnesses as well as evidence gathered at the scene of the crime led APD Detective Justin Farmer and Detective Sgt. Stephen White to obtain felony first degree murder charges, and five counts of felony attempted first degree murder arrest warrants for Stephenson. Fitzhugh said the attempted murder charges include the two male victims that suffered gunshot wounds, and three other males who were in the convenience store’s parking lot at the time of the shooting.

When asked how many shots were allegedly fired by Stephenson at the scene, Fitzhugh said that information cannot be released at this time as it is part of the ongoing investigation.

At the close of Friday’s press conference, Fitzhugh said the extradition process for Stephenson’s return to Ahoskie could take anywhere between a couple of days to one week.

Leading up to Thursday’s arrest, Fitzhugh said he wanted to thank federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for their assistance in this case. That group includes the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, the Murfreesboro Police Department, the Windsor Police Department, the North Carolina SBI and ALE, the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Funeral services for Sutton are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Aug. 13 in the gym at Hertford County High School. In addition to her job at Murphy Express, Sutton was also employed as a bus driver for students enrolled at HCHS.

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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