After a week-long investigation, arrests have been made in connection with a shooting at the county recreation center and a robbery that took place earlier in the week, authorities said Thursday.
Sgt. Detective Rick Gutierrez of the Marion Police Department and Detective Billie Brown of the McDowell County Sheriff's Office charged Manuel Valdez Jr., 18, of J.S. McMann Drive in Marion with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, discharging a firearm within an enclosure, robbery with a dangerous weapon and first-degree burglary.
On Aug. 24, Valdez was allegedly in a vehicle along with several other passengers at the McDowell County Recreation Center on Academy Street. 20-year-old Jake Price of Shell Road in Marion and two other individuals - Jordyn Mitchell of Marion and Mark Schneider of Morganton - were all outside on the sidewalk when Valdez reportedly drove by and began shooting at them with a small caliber handgun. Valdez and his occupants then fled the scene. Price was the only person in the group struck by the rounds that were fired, once in the arm and once in the leg. Price was then transported to McDowell Hospital for non-life threatening injuries and later treated and released for the gunshots.
During the investigation into the shooting, it was discovered that Valdez and his passengers were previously acquainted with Price. It was determined through interviews that Valdez, some of the passengers in his car that night – 16-year-old Ahamad Karreim Washington of Reds Hill Road in Marion, 19-year-old Zyan Rahiem Logan of Morganton and 19-year-old Joseph Farrakhan Hardy of Park Avenue in Marion – as well as 17-year-old John Wallace Vestal II of West Court Street in Marion, had attempted to rob Price at a home on Shell Road on Aug. 21 before the shooting outside the recreation center three days later.
Once Marion investigators learned of the attempted robbery outside of the city limits, McDowell County Sheriff Detective Brown joined the case and charged Washington, Logan, Hardy and Vestal each with first-degree burglary and robbery with a dangerous weapon for the incident on August 21. Individual bonds for all four suspects were set at $150,000.
On Thursday evening at approximately 5:20 p.m., Valdez turned himself into the Marion Police Department. His bond was set at $350,000.