03/15/04 — Masked man murdered

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Masked man murdered

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on March 15, 2004 1:59 PM

As many as 30 people may have witnessed a masked man being gunned down Saturday night outside of a mobile home near Seven Springs. But they have declined to talk to Wayne County sheriff's officers about the shooting.

The Hispanic victim wore a ski mask and carried no identification. Officers speculated that the victim may have been taking part in a home invasion and may have been shot in self-defense.

The body was found at 9:36 p.m. by Deputy R.L. Winders, who was answering a call about a fight at 1277A Camp Jubilee Road. He was notified by dispatchers that a gun may have been used. Two firearms were recovered.

The man, whose identity was not known, was found with a single gunshot wound to the head. Shift Sgt. Jeff Williams, Capt. George Raecher and sheriff's detectives responded. The victim was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Sheriff Carey Winders said today that crimes involving Hispanics have been difficult to investigate because of language and cultural differences.

"We want them to know that we're here to work with them and to find out who the suspects are," the sheriff said. "We wonder if they are scared to talk to law enforcement because they are afraid that they will be deported."

The body was sent today to the state medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.

Raecher said that if the victim had been charged with a crime, the State Bureau of Investigation might be able to identify him from his fingerprints. The man appeared to be about 20 to 25 years old.

Raecher also said he did not know who was living in the mobile home.

Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 731-1481 or Goldsboro-Wayne County Crime Stoppers at 735-2255. Callers may remain anonymous, and they may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

The murder was the fifth this year in Wayne County. The first four have been solved and one of those involved a Hispanic man.

"They put up barriers," Sheriff Winders said. "Last week it took a lot of legwork. I was out 33 hours tracking down a name of one person."

Later that day, on March 6, a man was arrested in Alamance County and charged with the murder of a man on Kingdom Lane in the New Hope community of Wayne County. Abraham Padilla, 22, of Goldsboro was charged with the murder of 23-year-old Carlos Guerrero-Venegas, whose address has not been determined.

"Many Hispanics use different names and have fake IDs," the sheriff said. "Last week we could not find the victim's relatives for three days."