RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The man once identified as the suspected gunman in a courthouse shooting in North Carolina had a credible alibi that led to his release, the police chief said Wednesday as investigators sought a another man for questioning.
Nashville Police Chief Thomas Bashore said in an interview that Ontarious Montre Lewis isn’t currently considered a suspect in the shooting that wounded two men in front of the Nash County Courthouse on Tuesday. Lewis was released after being questioned Tuesday night.
“He had an alibi. He wasn’t here at the time of the shooting,” Bashore said.
Authorities on Tuesday had said Lewis was the suspected gunman and that he had been arrested. Bashore declined to say what led authorities to Lewis.
Phone calls to listings for Lewis in Rocky Mount went unanswered.
Nash County Sheriff Dave Jenkins, whose agency had Lewis in custody, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Wednesday.
Authorities are still seeking another man but haven’t said what his role in the shooting may have been. The second man was described as a suspect in the news release that identified Lewis.
Bashore said the gunman ran up to front of the courthouse Tuesday, shot several times and ran away before he got into a light-colored car and escaped. The shooting sent panicked shoppers ducking into shops along the normally quiet main drag of the town of 5,500 people.
The two victims of the shooting were in critical condition at a hospital in Greenville, but expected to survive. Donte’a Evans was shot in the leg and hand, while Lamar Ricks was shot in the back.
Authorities said Evans ran inside the courthouse after the shooting and collapsed, while Ricks fled to a nearby lot, where paramedics found him.
Bashore said investigators have increased a reward to $10,000 for information leading to a conviction in the shooting.