Suspects were ‘determined to kill’ in SC chase that ended in fatal NC crash, sheriff says

Three young men died early Sunday morning when a pickup truck smashed into a home in Shelby after its occupants chased and shot at another vehicle then ran from police, authorities said.

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office said a passenger in a car driving from Cherokee County, S.C. called police and said she was being shot at by someone in a pursing truck. Six people — including two juveniles — were in the truck, according to a police report. The chase went on for miles.

WSOC-TV, The Charlotte Observer’s news partner, reported the person who was shot at was driving away from a cookout when they first called 911.

A Cleveland County sheriff’s deputy spotted the vehicles shortly after 1 a.m. on U.S. 74 near Earl Road in Shelby, a city about 45 miles west of Charlotte. That’s when the truck fled, running a red light and turning off its exterior lights, a news release stated.

“Given this persistence by the suspects, it appears they were determined to kill the occupants of the other vehicle,” the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post about the incident. “It was only through the intervention of the deputy that the suspects disengaged from menacing the victims.”

The truck moments later crashed into a 78-year-old man’s home near Dekalb and Suttle streets in Shelby, according to the police report.

According to the Shelby Police Department, two 20-year-old men and one 18-year old died in the crash. Another passenger was still in the hospital in critical condition as of Monday afternoon, according to SPD. All of the riders were men between 15 and 20 years old.

The three other occupants were transported and treated for medical help, and one of those was released from the hospital, a police department release stated. It’s unclear if any arrests were made or charges filed.

One person was in the house at the time, but that person was not injured, the report said.

No one in the victim’s vehicle was injured, though the car was hit by gunfire.

“Given the relentlessness with which these suspects pursued and shot at the victims, it is a miracle that no one in the victims’ car was injured,” said Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman in a statement. “I am proud of the joint effort between all the involved agencies to work through this investigation.”

Authorities in Cleveland and Cherokee counties are continuing to investigate the incident.