LAWNDALE, N.C. — A 2-year-old boy was seriously injured in what deputies believe was a drive-by shooting in Cleveland County on Sunday morning.
It happened at around 10:30 a.m. at a home on Douglas Street near the First Baptist of Lawndale Church in Lawndale.
Dispatchers told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon that investigators were responding to a shooting and that the victim was 2-year-old Raquez Clark.
Deputies said Clark was shot in the abdomen. The boy was rushed to a hospital in Shelby for emergency surgery in order to stabilize him and then flown to a hospital in Charlotte.
Investigators said he was crying and responsive when he was taken to the hospital. Authorities said the child was inside the house at the time of the shooting.
Channel 9′s veteran crime reporter Mark Becker spoke with the 2-year-old boy’s mother Tianna Jumper from the hospital on Monday. She described hearing gunshots and then, finding her son shot.
“We was in the bed and I heard gunshots and everything and I got up and my little boy was shot,” Jumper said.
Jumper said her son already had two surgeries and may need more, but he is still fighting.
“Right now, we’re just wanting to get him back to the way he was -- happy, running around, just playing, growing up and being happy,” Jumper said.
Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman said they are making progress in the case, but couldn’t give many details.
“Investigators worked on into the night last night on this case,” Norman said. “This case is high priority. Always will be high priority when there’s someone shot, but a child makes it just a little more near and dear.”
Deputies said they are still looking at any possible leads or witnesses. No arrests have been made.
“As we develop more information, we will either rule if it was a drive-by or it was not. In that general area, it is uncommon to have a drive-by. We have them occasionally, but in the unincorporated areas of Cleveland County, it’s a rarity,” Norman said.
Neighbors told Channel 9 that the street is normally quiet and peaceful.
“Our trustee lives next door. Our church right here. General store. I live up the street. This is home, you know. We can walk the streets at night -- no worries,” neighbor Steve Wells said.
A lot of people nearby know the family and have a hard time believing that something like this can happen on Mother’s Day.
“It makes me feel bad. I’m sad about that, and I know that the mother -- I can only imagine what she’s going through. And the father. It was a tragic thing that happened,” neighbor Patrina Bell said.
No other information about the shooting has been released at this point.
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.
Cox Media Group