03/08/04 — Shooting at party

View Archive

Shooting at party

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on March 8, 2004 1:58 PM

An argument at a birthday party Saturday night on Kingdom Lane in the New Hope community escalated to a shooting that left one man dead of a gunshot wound to the chest. Another man fled but was arrested Sunday 100 miles away.

The victim was identified as 23-year-old Carlos Guerrero-Venegas, whose home address has not been determined.

Abraham Padilla, 22, of Dutch Pines Court, was arrested Sunday afternoon in Alamance County. Officers said they made the arrest as they followed up a tip from two people in Wilson.

Abraham Padilla


A Wilson man who had been watching the Sunday noon news on television identified the suspect from a photo as the man who had just come to his girlfriend's door asking to use a phone to get a ride. They refused to let the man inside and instead called Wilson police, who discovered that the man had hired a taxi.

An all-points bulletin was broadcast for the man. Later the taxi was stopped near Graham, and Padilla was arrested.

Padilla had been shot in the arm and cut during the dispute, Wayne County Sheriff's Capt. George Raecher said. He was treated and released from a Burlington hospital.

Padilla was charged with voluntary manslaughter. He was returned Sunday night by Sheriff's Detective Sgts. Mike Kabler and Carl Lancaster to Wayne County. Padilla was taken before a magistrate, who set his secured bond at $500,000.

A preliminary investigation had determined that two groups of people had been arguing at the mobile home park. Raecher said the two men had been struggling when the firearm went off.

After conferring with District Attorney Branny Vickory, Raecher explained that Padilla was not charged with either first- or second-degree murder because the evidence did not meet the elements needed for those charges.

"Our investigation revealed that the elements of manslaughter applied in this situation," he said.

The early search for the suspect spread from New Hope to Azalea Drive in northwest Goldsboro, where a resident said she had seen the man at about 5 a.m. But an intensive search failed to locate him.

After the arrest, Sheriff Carey Winders expressed appreciation to news media for "their outstanding assistance and coverage in this case." Winders also thanked the Wilson and Graham police departments and the Wilson and Alamance County sheriff's offices for their help.