An 18-year-old man from Durham was being sought by police Thursday in connection with a shooting that left two people wounded.
Justin James Atwater, 18, was identified by Durham police following the shooting that happened Wednesday afternoon outside the Walmart in the New Hope Commons shopping center. Atwater faces charges including attempted murder and was not in custody Thursday afternoon, police said.
The incident began around 3 p.m. after an argument between two men inside the store was taken outside. According to witnesses, one of the men fired several shots, striking the second man in the stomach. A woman working in the eye center inside Walmart was shot in the ankle.
The 35-year-old male victim and the 38-year-old female victim were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, police said. They did not name the two wounded people.
After interviewing several people, investigators charged Atwater with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and attempted murder.
Early media reports said authorities had apprehended suspects they believed to be involved in the Walmart shooting but they were later found to not be related to the incident.
A light blue car was seen speeding away after the shooting. A Durham County sheriff’s deputy spotted a car matching the description on University Drive and tried to stop it, but the driver refused to stop, police said.
A chase ensued and two men and a juvenile female got out of the car on Arnold Road and ran. They were caught a short time later and brought to police headquarters where Investigators learned they were not involved in the shooting, but the vehicle had been reported stolen.
The two men were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. The juvenile female was not charged and released.
Police ask anyone who might know where Atwater is to call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.