Crime Stoppers offers large reward for information on unsolved LaGrange murders

(Photo: Lenoir County Sheriff's Office)

LAGRANGE, Lenoir County - Crime Stoppers is offering a $3,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrests of the suspects wanted for unsolved double homicide in LaGrange.

John Wesley Johnson and Roderick Wayne Gillette were murdered following a botched robbery. A third victim was wounded, but officials are not releasing his or her identity at this time.

The Lenoir County Sheriff's Office followed up with "numerous persons" who provided information to identify multiple suspects in the case, but no arrests have been made.

"We have received great tips that have pointed us in the direction of possible suspects, but we know there is someone with the information that can lead us to the arrest," Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram said.

Kinston -- Lenoir County Crime Stoppers has offered a $3,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest in this case.

"Crime Stoppers has stepped up to help us identify and arrest these suspects and we are grateful for their dedication to providing resources that help protect our country," Sheriff Ingram said.

Anyone with information that could assist in this investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 252-523-4444.


Police are continuing to search for the suspects involved in a multiple homicide investigation.

On November 12, around 1:15 a.m., the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office responded to 308 W. Queen Street in LaGrange for shots fired reports.

Upon arrival, deputies found a shooting had occurred and numerous victims were at the scene. The incident occurred in an outbuilding located on the property.

Just before the 911 calls were made about this incident, patrol division deputies heard the shots being fired, officials said.

The deputies had already begun heading towards the source of the shooting when the dispatchers gave them the information from the calls.

"The town of LaGrange is very quiet after midnight when everything is closed, so the patrol deputies actually heard the shooting happen and were looking for it when someone had called 911," Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram said.

Detectives now believe the shooting incident occurred during a botched robbery attempt of the persons at this building, officials said in a press release.

An investigation led officials to discover that a group of people gathered at this property and were playing cards. Witness interviews showed that armed suspects came to the building and demanded money from the occupants who were playing cards inside.

One of the individuals found dead at the scene was a suspect that came to commit the robbery. That suspect has been identified as Jerrell Marquez Pridgen of Goldsboro. Evidence showed that he was shot.

Current evidence shows that none of the victims were armed during the incident, officials said.

"We are still working to find out if a struggle occurred or if the robbers just came in shooting.," Sheriff Ingram said. "We do know for sure that Pridgen was one of the suspects at the scene along with some others and their intention was robbing someone. He was armed with a gun, had something covering his face and demanded money from the victims."

There are other suspects involved who were there with Pridgen and detectives are now working to continue to identify and find them.

Two victims were killed and a third was injured as a result of the robbery.

John Wesley Johnson, Jr. of Sumter, South Carolina, was visiting family and was in control of the property where the incident occurred. Johnson was shot during the robbery and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The second victim who was killed was Roderick Wayne Gillette of LaGrange. The third victim who was injured during the robbery is not being identified by the Sheriff's Office at this time as he is still recovering from his injuries and is subject to the ongoing investigation, officials said in a press release.

"Our prayers continue to go out to the victims' families for their loss and the LaGrange community," Sheriff Ingram said. "This area in LaGrange is not known for violence or this type of crime."

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office at 252-559-6118, Lenoir County Crimestoppers at 252-523-4444 or email a tip to the Sheriff's Office through their website.