LUMBERTON — A man who was shot and killed on Tuesday had once been charged with murder in the shooting death of the father of his alleged assailant.
But the charges against the dead man, Fernando Fortunato Smith, 30, of Thompson Street, were dropped.
James Earvent Chavis, 33, of Bovine Drive in Lumberton, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Smith, according to sheriff’s Maj. Howard Branch. Chavis is accused of shooting Smith multiple times outside a convenience store on N.C. 211 before fleeing in a gold car.
A sheriff’s deputy pursued Chavis in a road chase, which ended when Chavis stopped the car and fled on foot. He was caught a short time later and placed in the Robeson County jail without bond.
According to an article published in the May 25, 2004, edition of The Robesonian, Smith was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Chavis’ father, James Arthur Deal.
According to the article, Chavis and Deal were in the front yard of Chavis’ Smyrna Street home on May 23, 2004, when a white Hyundai pulled up in front of the home and came to a quick stop. Smith allegedly jumped out of the car and opened fire on Deal and Chavis.
“Smith went looking for Chavis and was actually shooting at Chavis, but shot his father instead,” sheriff’s Maj. Randal Patterson told the newspaper at the time.
Deal later died at the hospital from multiple gunshot wounds to the legs. Chavis was not hit.
According to the article, that shooting was sparked by a fight between Chavis and Smith that occurred the night before and left Frank McCallum, Smith’s uncle, injured.
Branch confirmed that Smith was charged in Deal’s death. According to court records, the case was dismissed in January 2005. Further information could not be provided because the file had been destroyed.
Smith had an extensive record of driving and drug charges, according to the N.C. Department of Correction.