Jacksonville police seek vehicle info in shooting of former deputy

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Jacksonville police are asking the public for information regarding vehicles seen near where a former Onslow County Sheriff’s Office deputy was found shot to death Friday.

The Jacksonville Police Department wants to know about any vehicles seen near the Northwoods Drive and Woodlands Park area between 9 and 11 p.m. on Thursday.

“This type of detailed death investigation takes time.  We appreciate the public’s patience as we ensure a complete and fair investigation is conducted and handled within given legal standards,” said Captain Ashley Weaver, JPD Investigations supervisor.  “This is an open and ongoing investigation, and we will release information when we are able to.”

William Joseph Clifton, 48, of Richlands was found dead in the park Friday morning. Clifton was released by the Sheriff’s Office in February 2016.

He’s remembered by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office as being a hard worker who was well liked by all.


“His name was initially withheld pending notification of his family” said Captain Ashley Weaver, JPD Investigative Services supervisor.

Police received the call about a body in Woodlands Park around 6:30 this morning, a discovery that forced officers to block off the area around the park for several hours.

The park is located behind an elementary school and is surrounded by multiple subdivisions.

Residents who live in the area say an event like this is unusual.

“I’ve lived here about 10 years,” Sebrina Sweeney, who lives near the park, said. “It’s a very safe neighborhood, at least it’s always felt very safe.”

Many residents say with the Fourth of July weekend, they weren’t necessarily listening out for the sound of gunshots.

“We went to bed relatively early and were up very early this morning but nothing,” Linda Preston, who lives in front of the soccer park, said. “I didn’t hear anything until I saw all of the police going into the park early this morning.”

They say waking up to find police blocking off the entrances to the park was shocking.

“About 7:30 this morning our doorbell rang and a detective asked us had we noticed anything last night, anything odd or did we hear any gunshots during the night,” Barbara Edwards, who lives across from the park, said.

The police department hasn’t released the man’s name or age.

Police say it was an isolated incident and anyone with information is asked to give them a call.

There is a $5,000 reward being offered for information about the shooting.

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Police are investigating a shooting death this afternoon.

Police in Jacksonville said an adult male’s body was found with an apparent gunshot wound at Woodlands Park around 6:30 a.m. Friday.

“Detectives are in the preliminary stages of this investigation and we will release additional information when we are able to,” stated Captain Ashley Weaver, JPD Investigative Services Supervisor. “This is an isolated incident with no safety threat to the public.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact JPD Detective Daniel Karratti at 910-938-6410 or karratti@jacksonvillenc.gov or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information deemed to be of value or assistance to law enforcement. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identities. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text a Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES)

WNCT’s Elizabeth Tew is at the scene and will bring you more details as they become available.

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