NASHVILLE, N.C. — A suspected gunman was in custody and a second man was still being sought Tuesday after two people were shot outside a North Carolina courthouse, authorities said.
Nash County Sheriff Dick Jenkins said the men had non-life-threatening wounds in the shooting that happened about 11:15 a.m. He says one man ran inside the Nash County Courthouse and collapsed after being hit in the hand and leg. The other victim ran down the street and was found in a lot with a back wound.
Both men were taken to hospitals, Jenkins said. He didn’t know their ages or offer further descriptions. Nashville Police Chief Thomas Bashore said the victims didn’t work at the courthouse.
Bashore said that a gunman ran up in front of the courthouse and shot several times then ran away. Authorities said they don’t have a motive. Jenkins said he believes that the victims were targeted and that the shooting wasn’t random. Officers found four or five bullet casings at the scene.
“It’s senseless to me that anybody would shoot anything let alone in front of the courthouse,” Jenkins said.
Authorities believe the gunman got into a light-colored car and escaped.
Judy Winstead said she heard the gunshots as she sat at her desk in a real estate office across the street from the downtown courthouse decorated with two-story white columns. She said she ran to the front door and locked it as an uninjured woman screamed in the front of the courthouse that is the main one for the county, handling both civil and criminal cases.
Within minutes “there were deputies all over the place and cop cars zooming in,” Winstead said.
Nashville is a town of about 5,500 in a heavily agricultural county and Winstead described the courthouse area as usually very safe.
Renee Davis said she heard five loud, echoing shots inside her flower shop across the street.
“You knew it was gunshots because it was consecutive,” said Davis, co-owner of Madelyn’s Flower Shop. A half-dozen people ducked inside her shop for cover, she said. Minutes earlier, a bride had picked up flowers and pulled away not long before the gunfire began, she said.
“We were in here. We had the doors open. It was a beautiful day,” Davis said.