Two teens have been charged with two counts of first degree murder in the shooting deaths of a Whitakers couple at their home.
Whitakers Police initially arrested 17-year-old Jacob Whitfield and charged him with allegedly shooting his father, Brian Whitfield, 44, and stepmother Charisma Whitfield, 31, late Saturday night.
Whitakers Police Chief C.D. Wagstaff said further investigation led police to arrest Joshua Powers, 17, and charge him in the shooting deaths as well. Wagstaffs said the NC Highway Patrol were crucial in helping to locate a key piece of information that led to Powers’ arrest.
Wagstaff said Powers and Whitfield were friends and had met when both attended Northern Nash High School. Whitfield had dropped out of school and was living in Virginia with his mother but had maintained a friendship with Powers. Powers lived less than a mile from where the shooting happened.
“They knew each other,” Wagstaff said. “They were friends.”
Wagstaff said Jacob was visiting his father for the weekend.
Whitakers Police and the Nash County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of two people being shot at 503 W. Taylor Street in Whitakers around 11:54 p.m. Saturday night.
When police arrived, they found Brian and Charisma Whitfield with gunshot wounds. Both were deceased, Wagstaff said.
The family had been out to dinner earlier that evening to celebrate Charisma’s birthday.
“This occurred after they returned,” Wagstaff said.
Both Jacob and Powers were at the home when the shooting occurred, along with Jacob’s 10-year-old stepbrother.
“There were five people in the house at the time,” Wagstaff said. “(The stepbrother) was not injured or anything.”
A firearm was recovered in a wooded area a block away from the home, Wagstaff said, and it will be sent to the SBI to determine if it was the weapon used in the shooting. The weapon belonged to one of the victims, Wagstaff added.
“We do have a weapon,” he said. “We are not sure at this point if that was the weapon that was used.”
Wagstaff said he could not comment on any motive in the shooting because it is still under investigation.
“We’re still working on it,” he said.
But, he said the shooting has hit the small town of Whitakers hard.
“We don’t normally see anything of this magnitude in a small area,” Wagstaff said.
Both Jacob and Powers made their first court appearance on Tuesday morning in District Court.