12/13/17 — Reward offered in LaGrange killings

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Reward offered in LaGrange killings

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on December 13, 2017 5:43 PM

LAGRANGE -- Lenoir County Crime Stoppers is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to arrests in a Nov. 12 triple homicide as investigators work to piece together what happened when the botched heist ended with a dead body count.

Maj. Ryan Dawson with the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office said authorities are unsure of exactly how the exchange of gunfire unfolded that night that left three people -- including a suspect -- dead.

Dawson said the agency believes that a suspect killed in the botched robbery attempt, Jerrell Marquez Pridgen of Goldsboro, is responsible for shooting three people playing cards at 308 W. Queen St., two of whom died.

Pridgen himself was shot and killed, bringing the body count to three, but Dawson said it's difficult to say who shot him.

"It's hard to say because a lot of people who could give us information are not alive," Dawson said.

And the sheriff's office is seeking anyone with knowledge about the situation to fill in the gaps.

Dawson said he believes at least three to four others were there when Pridgen and several others entered the house at about 1:15 a.m., but he does not know what they were doing.

He also said it is not clear how many people inside the house at the time were armed.

Dawson added the sheriff's office believes based on witness interviews there were other suspects alongside Pridgen, but investigators do not know how many yet.

The two men shot and killed during the botched robbery are identified by authorities as John Wesley Johnson, of Sumter, South Carolina, and Roderick Wayne Gillette, of LaGrange.

The third person shot but not killed in the incident is still not being identified by the sheriff's office.

"We have received great tips that have pointed us in the direction of possible suspects, but we know there is someone with the information that can lead us to the arrest," said Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram. "Crime Stoppers has stepped up to help us identify and arrest these suspects, and we are grateful for their dedication to providing resources that help protect our county."

Anyone with information about the incident should call Lenoir County Crime Stoppers at 252-523-4444.