04/29/07 — Suspect identified in funeral murder

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Suspect identified in funeral murder

By Lee Williams
Published in News on April 29, 2007 2:01 AM

An 18-year-old convicted felon is being sought in the murder of a 28-year-old Goldsboro woman who was gunned down in a parking lot as mourners poured out of a memorial service for her boyfriend last week.

The hunt is on for Kelvin Buffalo Jr. of Goldsboro, the alleged shooter in the Sharon Nichole Sheppard murder case, Goldsboro police said.

Buffalo had just been released from prison two months ago after serving an eight-month sentence for fleeing authorities in Lenoir County.

Buffalo was convicted on felony assault charges in 2004. Residents are urged not to confront him, but to call police if they spot him.

"Kelvin Buffalo Jr. has not been arrested and should be considered armed and dangerous," Goldsboro Police Department spokesman Sgt. Chad Calloway said. "Buffalo has been known to frequent the Westhaven and Courtyard areas of Goldsboro."

Ms. Sheppard of 602 Courtyard Circle was fatally shot in the parking lot of Shepherd Electric Supply Co. while seated inside of a car at about 12:35 p.m. Thursday.

Hundreds of mourners were leaving McIntyre Funeral Home after attending a funeral for 23-year-old Raheim Kornegay of Olivia Lane at the time of the shooting.

While a motive has yet to be released, some who knew the Kornegay family called the incident an act of retaliation. While no charges had been filed, some believed Ms. Sheppard played a role in Kornegay's death.

Ms. Sheppard and Kornegay, who shared an 8-month-old son, Rahkeim, were inside of her apartment when Kornegay was shot once in the chest about 3:30 p.m. April 22. He was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital where he later died.

Kornegay's death occurred just two days after child protective services workers removed Ms. Sheppard's four children from the home. The action was taken after officials received a report that guns were inside of the apartment, said Kornegay's aunt, who identified herself only as "Crystal."

Citing a state confidentiality law, Wayne County Department of Social Services Judy Pelt declined to acknowledge or comment on the case.

Calloway said Ms. Sheppard was being interviewed as a person of interest in the Kornegay case at the time of her death.

Sources at the crime scene suggested Ms. Sheppard's presence at the funeral angered some who attended the service and prompted the shooting.

Witnesses said Ms. Sheppard never entered the funeral.

She was shot an estimated seven times before the gunman and another man sped away, officials said.

A friend drove Ms. Sheppard to a fire station on Center Street. She was then transported to Wayne Memorial Hospital where she later died.

Crystal said it's not her place to assign guilt or innocence to her deceased nephew's girlfriend.

"I don't know if she killed him or not," she said. "I don't judge. All I know is now these four kids don't have a mother or daddy. It's very sad. They have an 8-month-old son that's kin to me, and I don't know if I'll ever see him again or not."

Thursday's murder unnerved some Wayne County residents Friday as several rumors started to spread around town about other violent incidents.

Among them were reports that there was a shooting at Carver Heights School, two or three people were shot at Piggly Wiggly on Lionel Street, another female was shot and killed as a result of Thursday's shooting and a fight between rival family members broke out at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

All of these rumors were false, hospital, police and school officials said.

Carver Heights and Dillard Middle School, however, were placed in "safe school mode" after a group of students came onto the Dillard school campus and engaged in inappropriate behavior.

The disturbance coupled with Thursday's murder which happened nearby, played a factor in the schools' decision to go into safe school mode, said Ken Derksen, public information officer.

"They were not allowed to leave the school, but they could move around freely, go to the restrooms or go to the cafeteria," Derksen said.

Derksen said safe school mode differs from lockdown mode.

"In lockdown mode, the doors are locked and the children are huddled in a corner," he said. "This was not a lockdown."