Crime & Courts

Belmont police offer details in Walmart shooting

Belmont police offered more details Saturday about why gunshots rang out in a Walmart parking lot late Friday afternoon.

A few minutes before 4 p.m. Friday, Belmont police responded to a call about shots fired at the Walmart-Mart on Hawley Avenue, according to a news release from the Police Department.

When officers got to the parking lot, they found and arrested Matthew Otis, 25, of Gastonia, who had a gun. Otis told them he was there to sell jewelry to some people he connected with on Craigslist, but they stole it and tried to get away in a Jeep, the release said.

As the Jeep sped from the parking lot, Otis fired four shots from a .45-caliber pistol at it, the release said. Authorities said one of the people in the Jeep, Wesley Perkins II, 20, of Lincolnton, left the Jeep shortly after the shots were fired and ran into some woods near the Walmart.

Gaston County deputies and police officers with K-9s set up a perimeter to search for Perkins. They arrested him about 6 p.m. on the grounds of Holy Angels, a care center for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Holy Angels is just southwest of the Walmart across Andrew Jackson Highway.

Just after midnight Saturday, the third suspect, Malik Moore, 18, of Lincolnton turned himself in to Belmont police. He and Perkins were not injured in the incident.

Police charged Otis with discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, according to the release. Moore and Perkins were charged with felony larceny.