KELFORD – A man who heard a disturbance outside his home Thursday evening, ended up at Vidant Medical Center with a gunshot wound.

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley said the man was inside his home when what amounted to a shootout was taking place outside. An arrest has been made in the shooting.

“The man heard the commotion outside and went to the door to see what was going on,” Sheriff Holley said. “When he did, he was shot in the abdomen by a random bullet.”

The victim was seriously injured and two deputies – Cpl. Roger Blount and Deputy William Padgette - provided Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) until Bertie EMS arrived and took over the man’s care. He was flown to Vidant Medical Center from West Bertie Elementary School, which was near the incident.

Sheriff Holley said the victim is recovering after hours of surgery.

The incident began moments earlier when a car drove by a group of mobile homes on the outskirts of Kelford.

“There were a bunch of young guys in a car, and others in a yard in that area,” Sheriff Holley said. “The person driving the car did a u-turn and came back. At that time some of the older men who were sitting on a nearby porch yelled for everyone to get down.”

The sheriff said what ensued was a person or people inside the car shooting at those in the yard and the ones outside returning fire.

During the exchange of bullets, the victim was injured.

“This is a bad situation that we see unfolding not only around Bertie County, but in the surrounding counties and places across the United States,” Sheriff Holley said. “I don’t know what it is going to take to stop it, but we are going to have to work together for sure.”

He said in this incident, there were likely four or more people exchanging gunfire.

Sheriff Holley said an Aulander man is charged with the crime. Det. Brandon Turner took out warrants for the arrest of Tony Lemot Harrell, 31, of 414 Chestnut St. in Aulander. He is charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and felony discharge of a weapon into an occupied dwelling.

He was confined to the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail under a $250,000 secured bond.

“I can’t say enough about the job done by my deputies and the community in this case,” Sheriff Holley said. “I’m proud of the actions taken by Cpl. Blount and Dep. Padgette to help save the victim’s life.

“I’m also grateful to the community for getting involved,” he said. “This is an example of the community coming together to say ‘no more.’ Det. Turner also did an outstanding job investigating the case and charging the individual.”

Anyone with more information on the incident can contact the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office at 252-794-5330.

Thadd White is Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance and can be reached via email at