Victims ID'd in fatal shooting near Wingate University, 2 arrest - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Victims ID'd in fatal shooting near Wingate University, 2 arrested

Daniel Steven Sheerer Daniel Steven Sheerer
Tony Antwone Knotts Tony Antwone Knotts

Investigators in Union County arrested two Marshville men after a deadly shooting near Wingate University.

Officers said Juan Carlos Garcia, Yader Sandoval, and Eleonel Garcia, who investigators say are all cousins, were shot. Juan Garcia and Yader Sandoval were pronounced deceased Wednesday night.

According to a press release, the suspects were arrested at about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday night. They were located together in a unit at the Willow Oaks Apartments off Walkup Avenue in Monroe. Officials say the men were arrested without incident after they exited the apartment from a back door.

Daniel Steven Sheerer and Tony Antwone Knotts are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count each robbery with a dangerous weapon, and one count each of attempted murder. According to a press release, the men subsequently confessed to breaking into several homes in the Union County area.

Both men are being held without bond in the Union County Jail.

Wingate University was on lockdown during the investigation. Union County law enforcement officials gave the "all clear" at Wingate at about 8:45 p.m., nearly two and a half hours after the lockdown was put into place.

Officials were working two crime scenes, one along E. Wilson Street, near the entrance to the College Park community, and another about two blocks away on Zeb Goodman Road. East Wilson Street runs along Wingate's campus.

Wingate Police Chief Donnie Gay said it started when a Union County Sheriff's Deputy was flagged down on E. Wilson because of a vehicle stopped in the road near Burris Street.

The deputy found a man suffering from a gunshot wound. The man had collapsed off the roadway near the car. He was later pronounced dead.

A short time later, a driver who had been diverted on Zeb Goodman Road reported two other men lying near the entrance to Wingate University Lake.

Officers responded to the scene, where one of the men was pronounced dead and the other, later identified as Eleonel Garcia, was airlifted to the hospital. Officials said both men had been shot.

Hospital officials from Carolinas Medical Center-Union asked for additional law enforcement officers from the area after a shooting victim was brought to the hospital for treatment.

A spokesman for Carolinas Medical Center told WBTV this was done as a precautionary measure due to the shooting happening near campus, not due to an incident at the hospital.  This is common practice with these types of incidents.

That victim was moved to Carolinas Medical Center-Main for additional treatment. As of Thursday afternoon, officials said they were in fair condition.

During the active investigation, Wingate University issued lockdown procedures for the main campus.

"Please remain calm," an alert sent to student on Wednesday evening stated. "Move to the nearest building and close and lock all doors and windows. Close all blinds and turn off the lights."

Just before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night, Wingate University Tweeted that Wingate Police believed the assailants were not on the university's campus and the lockdown was a precaution.  The lockdown was lifted about 15 minute later.

"Law enforcement requests you stay away from the off-campus crime scene east of campus," a message posted on the University's Facebook page stated on Wednesday night.

Police further said they did not believe any students were at-risk or involved in the shooting.

This is the second lockdown at the University in less than three weeks. On November 15, the campus was placed on lockdown after a student reportedly witnesses an altercation from her residence hall window. She believed one of the people involved pulled out a handgun during the incident. Campus was locked down while law enforcement from three separate agencies swept the campus. 

Thursday morning, Wingate University President Jerry E. McGee released a statement about the two recent lockdown situations. You can read his full statement here.

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