Family: Suspect in Smithfield Foods plant shooting was bullied by victim


TAR HEEL, N.C. (WNCN) – The family of a man charged with shooting two people at Smithfield Foods in Bladen County said he was the victim of bullying in an ongoing dispute with one of the victims.

Jaquante Hakeem Williams

The family of Jaquante Hakeem Williams spoke with CBS 17 following the shooting at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel.

“He doesn’t bother nobody, and it’s like enough is enough he had enough,” Chris Williams, the suspect’s mother said.  

The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office said it received a call about an active shooter situation at the facility around 12:15 a.m.

Law enforcement officers located a man and woman who had been shot in the administrative building.

Williams, 20, of St. Pauls, initially fled the scene but later surrendered to Bladen County deputies without incident.

Family members say Williams had been bullied by the male shooting victim in an ongoing dispute.

Family members said Williams felt his life was threatened and said he was being harassed, bullied and threatened at work. 

“He said ‘This guy came to me tonight told me he was going to kill me, so I had to protect myself,’” April Edwards, the suspect’s aunt said. “He didn’t say too much just told us that he loved us and that he did what he had to do to protect himself.”

The female victim was an innocent bystander, deputies said.

The family says Williams was trying to transfer departments, and made a report with his supervisor after a recent fight at work with Ratley. 

“In order for him to retaliate like this to protect himself, I feel like it had to be something that just was to the point where he felt like it was a life or death situation,” Edwards said. 

The two victims were flown by life flight helicopters to Chapel Hill and New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment of their injuries.

Williams faces two counts of attempted first-degree murder and is being held in the Bladen County Jail under no bond.

Hear more from Williams’ family tonight at 5 p.m. on CBS 17.

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