“My name is Charles Rivers. I’ve just been shot.”
The surviving victim of a fatal double-shooting last week managed to make a call to 911 after he was struck by at least one bullet.
Rivers was across the street from Wadesboro Discount Grocery and Quality Florist on Salisbury Street, a stretch of U.S. Highway 74 in Wadesboro, when he was hit.
His call was made at 9:59 p.m. and lasted nearly four minutes. As the operator tried to clarify his location, Rivers repeated that he’d been shot.
When she asked who shot him, Rivers didn’t have an answer.
“I don’t know,” he said. “They come out of the woods and start firing.”
Rivers reported that he was hit in the stomach, and that he was unsure if he was shot anywhere else. He was bleeding from his face, as well. The operator encouraged him to try to flag down help.
As the operator tried to speak with him, his groans, then unintelligible conversation, carried through the phone before the call cut off.
Rivers dialed 911 two minutes after the first caller reported at 9:57 p.m. that he saw “some guy running down the middle of (U.S. Highway) 74 shooting a gun.”
The unidentified caller said he believed there were five or six shots fired, and described a possible shooter as African-American and wearing a black shirt.
“I don’t know if somebody was shooting at him or if he was shooting, but he started running when the shots started shooting, so I don’t know,” the caller said.
Wadesboro Police Chief Thedis Spencer said via email that the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation.
Police do not believe either of the victims were the intended target.
As of June 7, Wadesboro Police Chief Thedis Spencer said that Rivers had gone through surgery. He’d been taken to Charlotte for medical treatment after the shooting. No update was available by press deadline.
Wallace Levon Sturdivant, 60, died from his injuries.
Sturdivant was known as “Pokey” to Sinic Marsh, his wife Bonnie, and his mother-in-law, Louise Luallen. Sinic said he didn’t even know Sturdivant’s real name until he died.
Bonnie Marsh and Luallen own Quality Florist. Sinic Marsh, a former truck driver, has worked at the shop full-time for about a year.
Sturdivant worked as a handyman at the shop and did landscaping work, Sinic Marsh said. He also volunteered, helping with the soup kitchen at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.
“‘Pokey’ was known by many and loved by all,” his obituary on the website of Smith Funeral Home said. “He will be truly missed.”
A homegoing service was held Monday in Smith’s Memorial Chapel, located at 604 Salisbury Street. The funeral home is just a few doors up the street from where Sturdivant was shot.
As of press time Monday, Sinic Marsh said he and others had also tentatively planned a candlelight vigil for Sturdivant at Ebenezer at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
This isn’t the first time the area has experienced deadly violence.
At about this time last year, someone fired a gun in the entrance the shop, Sinic Marsh said. He saw shell casings scattered around.
In January of 2013, two young men, Jerry Thomas Rorie, 25, and Marcus Antonio Allen, 24, were killed in a double-shooting very near the florist. After he was shot, one of the victims ran a short distance up to Wadesboro Discount Grocery, then called 74 Stop and Shop, where he died close to where Sturdivant was killed. At the time, police said they believed the shooting to be gang related.
Sinic Marsh said it’s time to stop the violence.
The Marshes and Luallen made a black wreath in Pokey’s memory, hanging it on the front door of the business. With other evidence of the violence cleared away, it serves as a reminder of the tragedy that took place and the friend they lost in an instant.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.