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Officials say drive-by shooting appears random


Washington County Sheriff’s deputies are still investigating a nonlethal drive-by shooting of a parked vehicle that occurred in the 1700 block of North Davis Street in Cornelius early Thursday,

July 17.

“We have some good leads at the moment but we’re still reaching out to the public,” said Sgt. Bob Ray, spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

At 4:39 a.m., vehicle owner Miguel Ayala-Elias reported that his white 2002 GMC Envoy had been shot outside his home.

Upon examining the damage, the angle and trajectory of the shot, police determined that the suspect fired birdshot from a shotgun in a moving vehicle.

There was no indication why the owner would be targeted.

“It could have just been someone thinking it would be fun to tear someone’s property up,” said Ray.

A number of witnesses reported hearing a gunshot much earlier, around 1 a.m., but didn’t call it in to police, said Ray, who found that disturbing.

It “dramatically hurts our chances of catching the people who did it,” he said.

The random shooting of an unoccupied, parked vehicle is very unusual, Ray said.