12/08/11 — Shootings worry law enforcement

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Shootings worry law enforcement

By From staff reports
Published in News on December 8, 2011 1:46 PM

GREENEVERS -- The Duplin County town of Greenevers is under a 6:30 p.m. curfew for foot traffic and limited vehicular traffic following two shootings this week that left two dead and three injured.

The number of deputies on duty has been "drastically" increased in an effort to ensure there is no further violence, Sheriff Blake Wallace said this morning.

The second shooting appears to have been sparked and escalated into violence because of comments allegedly made about the victim of the first shooting, Wallace said.

It is unclear if the shootings are gang-related, since investigators are hearing different stories, but "gang undertones" are being investigated, Wallace said.

In the first incident, about 2 a.m. Sunday, Nicholas Bennerman, 21, of Greenville, was shot following an argument at a private party at Duff's Creek Community Building near Teachey, Wallace said.

Bennerman, who "had ties to Duplin County," later died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, Wallace said.

Bennerman's uncle, Elijah Bennerman, 23, of Magnolia, is one of two people injured in the second shooting that occurred Wednesday afternoon in Greenevers, just east of Rose Hill.

The alleged gunman in the first, Jahbriel Grimes, 20, of Wilmington, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, but could face additional charges today.

Wallace said the Sunday shooting occurred after Grimes, who was injured, was asked to leave the party.

In the second shooting, Trevor Carr, 18, of Greenevers, was fatally shot in what the sheriff said was "a shoot-out" while he and Javontae Hill, 21, also of Greenevers, were walking along Pasture Branch Road.

Elijah Bennerman approached Carr and Hill in what appears to have been a chance encounter and not a "planned hit," Wallace said.

An argument ensured, followed by gunfire.

Wallace said he could not comment on who fired the first shot since the investigation is continuing.

Carr died on the roadway.

Hill and Elijah Bennerman, both of whom were shot several times, attempted to flee. Hill ran to a neighbor's house while Elijah Bennerman ran down the road before collapsing.

Both men were transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Charges in the case are expected later today, Wallace said.