[Photo: Nehemiah Woods, twin brother of the late Jeremiah Woods, speaks at a press conference about his family’s loss and asks for people with information to come forward.]
By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The Hoke County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of a suspect or suspects involved in the January shooting death of a man from Robeson County.
The family of Jeremiah Woods wept Tuesday morning as his twin brother, Nehemiah Woods, pleaded for the public to come forward with information about the shooting that took the 39-year-old from his loved ones.
“I am broken and I can never be whole again. Every time I look in the mirror I see a part of me that is gone. I will never get it back,” Woods said. “As a family we stand before you and plead to you to come forward if you have any information that will lead to an arrest in Jeremiah Woods’ case. No information is too small. We want justice and we need answers. Those things won’t bring Jeremiah back to us, but it will put someone behind bars for taking Jeremiah from the ones who love and miss him.”
Woods died after he and three other people were the victims of a drive-by shooting in Hoke County. The shooting happened around 9:10 p.m. January 8 at the intersection of Duffie Road and Old Maxton Road, sheriff’s office lead detective Lt. Daniel Shipp said.
Woods was driving and Sherri Davis was a passenger in the front seat of the vehicle, and two other people who were not identified by authorities were sitting in the back seat. A vehicle pulled up beside them and opened fire multiple times before fleeing the scene, Shipp said.
Woods and Davis both suffered gunshot wounds and were transported to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville. Davis survived her injuries and the two passengers in the rear seat were not shot, according to the sheriff’s office. Woods passed away from his injuries January 9.
The drive-by took place in seconds, Hoke County Sheriff Dr. Hubert Peterkin said.
“This situation was a senseless murder. Jeremiah did not deserve what happened,” he said.
The sheriff’s office has been investigating ever since. With the help of the community, authorities have identified a person of interest in the case, but have not yet made any arrests.
It’s possible more than one person is involved, Peterkin said, and added that anyone who played a role in the shooting will be charged.
“Every single person we find out is involved in this situation is going to be charged. We’re not leaving anybody out,” he said.
Woods’ sister-in-law, Tonya Woods, said the family had gone out to dinner to celebrate her daughter’s birthday just before the shooting happened.
“We laughed, we took videos, and we never knew what was to come later on that day,” she said.
Loved ones described Woods as a hardworking man who was dedicated to his family and would do anything to help others. He graduated from Purnell Swett High School in 2000 and worked as an electrician with Mass Electric and IBEW Local 495. He enjoyed riding his Harley and four-wheeler, hunting and spending time with family and friends, his obituary said.
“Jeremiah was loved in his community, loved in the workplace, everybody thought the world of this guy. There was nothing negative anybody could say about him or his twin brother,” Peterkin said.
Everything changed for the family when Woods was killed, his sister-in-law said.
“There’s no words to describe what we lost when we lost him. Nothing is the same, nothing can ever be the same. I beg you please, please, if you know anything, please come forward. We beg you. Jeremiah was so special, he can never be replaced,” she said.
The sheriff’s office and the Woods family joined together to offer a reward they hope will help obtain information that will lead to an arrest and conviction. The money came from a $10,000 donation from the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office and $10,000 from fundraising efforts of family, friends and supporters.
Asked about a motive for the shooting, Peterkin said it was senseless.
“People just being mean, pulling triggers on guns, that’s what it comes down to,” he said.
A longtime friend of the family, Eddie Moore, offered his own plea for information.
“The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘the time is always right to do what’s right.’ The right thing is to tell what you know. If you know something, say something. Keep this from happening to another family,” he said.
Anyone with information about the shooting can contact the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 875-5111, or contact Lt. Daniel Shipp directly at (910) 633-2824 or firstname.lastname@example.org.