WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A man is dead after an early-morning home invasion in the Port City, but the events surrounding the murder have neighbors questioning what really happened.
Neighbors describe Clifton Sykes Jr. as a good man who helped everyone in the neighborhood. His death has many wondering who would commit such a heinous crime.
Early Monday morning New Hanover County Dispatch got a call for an ambulance at 612 North 8th Street.
"Somebody got shot," the caller said. "Can you help please? Oh, gosh. Please hurry up. He's shivering. Please send somebody, please!"
Police say Sykes, 40, and a female companion were sleeping soundly, when for the second time in three days two people broke through the back door.
"Two guys came in at gunpoint and robbed us and put tape over our eyes and wrapped our hands up," the 911 caller told dispatchers.
Police say there was a struggle between Sykes and the burglars. While the woman was able to escape to the safety of a neighbor's house, gunshots rang out. Investigators say the two black males ran away leaving Sykes in a pool of blood to die.
Sykes becomes the first death in a string of armed robberies in the Port City. That has some neighbors questioning whether there is a connection.
"Those robberies are being investigated, and we're not able to link them together or know the motive for those robberies at this moment," WPD Sgt. Kelvin Hargrove said.
Wilmington police ask anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers hotline or Wilmington Police headquarters.