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Allison Lee Isley/Journal  

East Surry senior quarterback Jefferson Boaz (7) runs the ball for a touchdown in the second quarter of a second round football game of the NCHSAA Class 1-AA playoffs Thursday night, Nov. 21, 2019, at East Surry High School in Pilot Mountain, N.C. The East Surry Cardinals defeated the Starmount Rams, 52-0. (Winston-Salem Journal/Allison Lee Isley) 20191122w_spt_eastsurry


Crime
Deadly shooting was justifiable homicide, Winston-Salem police say

Investigators determined the shooting that killed 22-year-old Ajian Lynell Jones on Tuesday was justifiable, and will not charge anyone in his death.

On Tuesday, around 6 p.m., Charvez Kent Brown, 25, went to the home at 1304 Peachtree St. to sell Danielle Miller, 22, a small amount of marijuana, according to Winston-Salem police Lt. Gregory Dorn. However, Miller, along with Jones and 19-year-old Andres Harris had other plans, and attempted to rob Brown, police said.

Brown tried to run away, but the three began shooting so Brown returned fire. Harris, Jones and Brown were all wounded in the shooting.

Miller, Harris and Jones left the home in a car and were eventually found by officers on Interstate 40 near Hanes Mall Boulevard. The car broke down, police said, because of the damage it received in the shooting.

Forsyth County EMS took Harris and Jones to an area hospital, where Jones died of his injuries.

Brown went to his home in the 100 block of Green Point Drive, police said, before taking himself to a hospital to get treatment for his own gunshot wounds.

Dorn said Brown acted in self-defense because he tried to run away first. Brown will not be charged at all in the incident, Dorn said. Jones’ death is ruled a justifiable homicide.

There have been 26 people killed in Winston-Salem this year, including Jones. In 2018, there were 24 homicides in the city through the same time period.

On Wednesday, police arrested Miller and Harris on charges stemming from the attempted robbery-turned-shootout. Miller is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and aiding/abetting armed robbery. She is being held in the Forsyth County Jail under a $50,000 bond.

Harris is charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a stolen firearm. Harris is being held in the jail with bond set at $75,000.


Local
Student’s Trump joke not a credible threat, Surry County Sheriff’s Office says

A Surry County student’s joke about Donald Trump earlier this month was not a “credible threat” against the president, the Surry County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

The sheriff’s office, in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service, determined that a North Surry High School student’s off-the-cuff quip on Nov. 13 during a sketch at the school about Trump and jobs in the White House didn’t pose any danger to the president’s life.

The Secret Service contacted the sheriff’s office that day, telling it about an “inappropriate comment” made during an improvisational performance at North Surry.

Investigators interviewed multiple students and school staff members about the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.

The comment was made in front of about 45 students in the school’s media center, according to a statement from Surry County Schools.

The sheriff’s office said it had not received any complaints about the joke until being contacted by the Secret Service. A concerned Surry County resident had contacted the federal law-enforcement agency to ask that the incident be investigated.

However, on Nov. 14, sheriff’s Capt. Scott Hudson told the Winston-Salem Journal that the agency received multiple complaints, including one from a concerned parent, shortly after the student made the comment.

Surry County Schools and the sheriff’s office have declined to share what was actually said, but the school system said earlier that it was in “poor taste.”

Trump, a Republican won 74% of the vote in Surry County in the 2016 presidential race and remains popular among residents.

The Secret Service doesn’t comment on specific investigations.


Crime
His alcohol level was 3 times the legal limit when he got behind the wheel. Thursday, he pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder.

One of the last things Renee Dawn Dix told Brandon Darrell Fields to do was slow down as he drove down North Liberty Street one night in December 2018, a Forsyth County prosecutor said in court Thursday.

Instead of slowing down, Fields, behind the wheel of a 2006 Mercury Grand Marquis, sped up, crossed the center line and collided with another vehicle. Dix, 46, died immediately from multiple blunt-force injuries. Three other passengers in Fields’ car — Martha Snowden, 38; Gilbert Rossi, 29; and Daniela Litzinger, 22 — had numerous blunt-force injuries. Litzinger was ejected from Fields’ car and was later found pinned between the car and a chain-link fence surrounding a business.

Fields’ blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit, which is 0.08 percent.

“I wish I had never got behind the wheel of that car,” Fields said after he pleaded guilty in Forsyth Superior Court on Thursday to one count of second-degree murder, one count of felony death by motor vehicle and three counts of felony serious injury by motor vehicle.

Judge J. Stanley Carmical handed down two consecutive sentences that totaled a minimum of 28 years and 11 months to a maximum of 36 years and six months in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Breeding said Fields, who will turn 29 today, was driving south on North Liberty Street at 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2018. He, Dix, Snowden, Rossi and Litzinger had just left Dix’s house where they had spent several hours doing laundry, Breeding said. While at the house, Fields was drinking alcohol heavily and smoking marijuana. Fields later told Winston-Salem police that he had taken methamphetamine the day before the crash.

Dix told him that he shouldn’t drive because he was drunk. Fields, Breeding said, became belligerent and demanded to drive. Dix eventually let him drive.

On North Liberty Street, Fields was driving 65 mph in a 35-mph zone. Dix told him to slow down several times.

“Shut up,” Fields said in response, according to Breeding. “I’m going to show you what I can do.”

Then, Breeding said, Fields went even faster, swerving the car along the road.

Phillip Culler, an Asheboro resident, was driving a 2017 Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck northbound on North Liberty Street. Breeding said Fields swerved across Culler’s lane so sharply that Culler’s truck slammed into the passenger side of Fields’ car in a T-bone collision.

The aftermath of the crash was horrific. Dix couldn’t even be removed from the car and died at the scene, Breeding said.

Litzinger was pregnant at the time of the crash and miscarried afterward.

She also had multiple broken ribs, a crushed pelvis and internal injuries. She has to have a permanent catheter.

Rossi had a traumatic brain injury, multiple spinal fractures and lacerations to his internal organs. He just recently learned how to walk again, Breeding said.

Snowden had massive blunt-force injuries, including a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and a cracked pelvis.

Culler received minor injuries and was able to leave the scene without going to the hospital.

After the crash, Fields was uncooperative at the scene and when he was taken to the hospital, he threatened hospital staff and would not cooperate with nurses trying to treat him. Breeding said Fields shouted profanity at one of the attending physicians in the emergency room.

Two hours after the crash, Fields’ blood-alcohol level was between 0.26 percent and 0.29 percent. Four hours after the crash, his blood alcohol level was 0.21 percent. He also had THC, an active metabolite of marijuana, and a small amount of methamphetamine in his system.

Breeding said that based on evidence from the scene and data from the Toyota Tacoma truck’s air bag module, investigators determined that Fields was going between 69 and 74 mph in a 35-mph zone before the crash. There’s no evidence that Fields applied the brakes.

Jerry Jordan, Fields’ attorney, said Fields has had a long history of drug addiction and alcohol abuse. Fields told Carmical that he had been drinking alcohol since he was 14.

Jordan said that while he was at the hospital, Fields constantly asked what had happened to Dix (he had not yet been told that she had died).

Breeding said Fields seemed more concerned about what was going to happen to him.

“All the questions he had about Rene’s conditions were followed with ‘What am I going to be charged with?’” Breeding said.

Breeding said that Fields may not have had the intent to kill Dix when he got behind the wheel of the car but every decision he made to drink alcohol, consume drugs and drive the car at a high rate of speed was deliberate and led inexorably to the fatal crash.

On the second row in Courtroom 5A sat six members of Dix’s family, including her parents.

They didn’t speak during the hearing, but Breeding read a statement that they wanted him to read to Carmical. In the statement, they said Dix had a heart of gold and that on the day she died, she was fixing food to provide for someone else. Their world, they said, ended the day Dix died.

“We pray that while he is in jail, anytime he plays cards, the Queens of Hearts comes up,” they said in the statement, in reference to Dix.

None of the survivors of the crash attended the hearing, but Rossi said in a statement to prosecutors that he had already forgiven Fields and that he loved him.

“I wish I could say that to his face,” Rossi said, according to Breeding.

Because of his injuries from the crash, Rossi couldn’t.


Z-no-digital
Shots fired at a Bojangles' in Winston-Salem around lunchtime Thursday

Shots were fired in a Bojangles’ parking lot around noon Thursday, and it appears someone shot out the window of a car that was at the fast-food restaurant on New Walkertown Road.

It is not clear whether anyone was injured in the shooting. Forsyth County EMS originally responded to the scene, but left when no shooting victims could be located.

A deputy was in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center when the shots rang out at Bojangles’, said Major Mark Elliott of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. The deputy heard about four shots and saw people running, he said.

Elliott told the Journal on Thursday afternoon that no one was in custody.

Broken glass and shell casings were visible in the Bojangles’ parking lot. Officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department taped off the parking lot with yellow crime-scene tape while several restaurant patrons and employees looked out the dining room windows at the scene.

Police also investigated at an apartment building nearby at 525 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Some seven Winston-Salem police cars were on the scene, and officers brought items out of an apartment, including what appeared to be a rifle and a Nike shoe box.

A white Toyota Yaris with the back window broken out was parked in front of the apartment. Winston-Salem police officer Lt. Gregory Dorn told the Journal the Toyota was the car that had been shot at in the Bojangles’ parking lot earlier.

This is the second fast-food restaurant parking lot shooting in recent weeks. On Nov. 9, a woman was shot in the leg at the McDonald’s on North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive after an argument about poor driving in the parking lot.

In August, 31-year-old Dorrell Queshane Brayboy was stabbed to death in the neighboring Food Lion parking lot.

The shooting at Bojangles’ is the second shooting this week. On Tuesday, one person was killed and two others injured in an attempted robbery on Peachtree Street.