WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- What started as a dispute between neighbors ended with one man dead and another in jail charged with his murder. The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Saw Mill apartment complex in Whiteville.
Neighbors and police say there have been ongoing disputes between two residents Danny Ray Nobles, 23, and the man who lived below him, Thomas Lee Melvin, 53.
Estelle Sellers lives in the Saw Mill complex and said the two men were often seen arguing.
"We called the cops several times to come out here and try to put a stop to it," she said.
Det. Tedd Dixon with the Whiteville Police Department is investigating.
"Apparently they couldn't reside with one another because of noise. Either the upstairs tenant was making too much noise for the victim or the suspect was making too much noise," Dixon said.
The early morning fight could have been sparked by an incident earlier in the day after Melvin filed a police report saying Nobles spit on him from over the railing of their apartment building.
"Mr. Nobles went to his vehicle, pulled a rifle and began shooting the victim. The victim ran and was literally running for his life," Dixon said.
Det. Dixon said Nobles chased Melvin around the complex and shot him at least 12 times, killing him. Nobles turned himself into police soon after.
Melvin's sister Thelma Melvin Gause gathered with family members Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm still in shock. He was such a good person. He'd do anything he could for anybody. We just ask everybody to remember us in your prayers and also remember the other families, too, because there are two families involved," she said.
Nobles's grandfather, Marshall, believes his grandson was repeatedly provoked.
"I'm just wishing people in the city could disagree without being violently disagreeable," Det. Dixon said.
Investigators will continue to question Nobles, who faces first degree murder charges and is being held in the Columbus County jail under no bond.