The stepfather of a Greensboro man who died from his wounds after a shooting last week in Winston-Salem wants witnesses to help police arrest his stepson’s killer and bring him to justice.
“I wish police would expedite this investigation and bring this man who killed my son to justice,” Jeffrey Waldo of Greensboro said Saturday. “This man needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Fred Douglas Hawkins III, 26, died Tuesday in a hospital after he was shot at a party on Cody Drive in Winston-Salem last Saturday. Another man, Jalen Chavon Cockerham, 23, of Ogburn Avenue in Winston-Salem, was shot dead at the scene.
Five other people were treated at hospitals for gunshot wounds. An eighth person was pistol-whipped, Winston-Salem police said.
Investigators say that witnesses to the shooting haven’t cooperated with police so far in their attempt to arrest the suspects involved in the shooting.
Police officials said Friday that the Cody Drive shooting and earlier shootings that happened in the 2400 block of Ivy Avenue on April 13 and the shooting outside Nova Lounge on April 7 in which seven people were shot at 515 N. Cherry were committed by the same people.
Police are encouraging witnesses to all three shootings to come forward with information about these incidents.
Waldo said he strongly urges the witnesses to the Cody Drive shooting to tell what they know about that incident to police.
“A lot of them (witnesses) are probably scared for their life,” Waldo said. “They need to help the police find this person.”
Waldo and his wife, Tonya, strongly refuted a statement by Winston-Salem police that Hawkins might have an affiliation with a gang.
“My child wasn’t associated with no kind of gang stuff,” said Tonya Waldo, Hawkins’ mother. “When I saw that, that hurt my heart so bad.”
Police Lt. Gregory Dorn, who supervises the city’s detectives, told the Winston-Salem Journal on Wednesday that Hawkins was a gang subject of interest. There were several gang members in the area at the time of the shooting, authorities said.
“We don’t know if this was gang-on-gang or just a beef between members,” Dorn said at that time.
Dorn clarified his statements Saturday.
“We were not calling him a gang member,” Dorn said of Hawkins. “He’s isn’t a certified gang member. He (was) known to have associated with validated gang members. He (was) known to hang out with gang members. That is what I meant to say.”
Dorn welcomed the Waldos to call him and discuss the case.
No arrests have been made connected to the Cody Drive shooting, Dorn said.
“I’m not going to release any suspects’ names at this point,” Dorn said.
Nevertheless, the Waldos reiterated that their son wasn’t a gang member.
“That’s not fair,” Tonya Waldo said of the police description of her son. “They have damaged his name.”
Jeffrey Waldo said his stepson despised gangs.
Waldo and his wife believe that police may have mistaken the name of their son’s musical group, Plug Brothers, to be associated with gangs. Waldo said that Hawkins had registered that name with the city of Winston-Salem as a music production company. Hawkins was an accomplished hip hop artist who wrote songs and produced music videos, his stepfather said. He formed the Plug Brothers with his two brothers and two friends.
Hawkins, who attended Mount Tabor High School, grew up in the North Hills neighborhood in Winston-Salem, his mother said. He loved his 3-year-old daughter, Kalin.
Jeffrey Waldo said he last saw Hawkins last Friday as he left their Greensboro home. Hawkins initially left the house without wearing a T-shirt, but his daughter told him he would get sick if he walked outside without a shirt. He returned to the house and put on a shirt, his stepfather said.
After he was shot last Saturday and was being treated in a hospital, his daughter thought her father was sick because he didn’t wear a T-shirt, Jeffrey Waldo said.
“That’s hard for us to even acknowledge, but that is what’s in her head,” Waldo said.
Hawkins worked for Waldo’s home construction company in Greensboro and often attended the Mercy Outreach Church of Deliverance in High Point with the Waldos, Jeffrey Waldo said. Hawkins also provided food and clothes to homeless people at the Samaritan Ministries shelter on Patterson Avenue in Winston-Salem. He also provided food to some fatherless children, his stepfather said.
Hawkins would often take his daughter and children without fathers in their homes to a fast-food restaurant for a meal, Jeffrey Waldo said. Kalin stills asks Jeffrey Waldo when is she going to Chuck E. Cheese’s, he said.
“He was a loving kind of guy,” Waldo said of Hawkins. “He would give you the shirt on off his back. He wasn’t a trouble maker. He would make a person smile.”
Local authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the Cody Drive shootings. Anyone with information about the Cody Drive shooting or the two earlier shootings can call Winston-Salem police at 336-773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800. Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem is on Facebook.