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Crime scene outside of Whiteville Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: Andrew James)

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The State Bureau of Investigation says a teen was shot and killed around 10:30 a.m. just outside of Whiteville.

The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, SBI and Whiteville Police Department are all working on the investigation.

SBI and family members say the 17-year-old died near the Whiteville Cemetery.

Family members told WWAY’s Andrew James that the victim was taking his 4-year-old stepson to Head Start when he noticed he was being followed. That’s when the family says he was shot and killed. Some of the stories differ, but investigators say the victim was shot while in the car on Highway 701. He turned into the cemetery and crashed into the ditch with the child in the car.

The 4-year-old has been returned to his mother. Investigators say the child was unharmed.

Stay tuned as we get more information about this developing story.


10:30 Update: The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office released more information about the deadly shooting this morning near Whiteville.

WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) – On September 20th, at approximately 10:45 am, Columbus County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at the Columbus County Parks and Recreation walking trail near Whiteville Memorial Cemetery on 701 in reference to a vehicle with an unresponsive driver.

An individual walking the trail noticed unusual tire tracks and a broken fence and went to investigate. The walker located the vehicle hidden in brush and contacted Columbus Central. Upon arrival, Sheriff Deputies located Sincere R. Mullet, 17, of Whiteville, deceased in the driver’s area of the vehicle with a gunshot wound. A four year old child was located in the back seat area of the vehicle. The child did not sustain any injuries and was released to the mother.

Mr. Mullet was traveling north on Highway 701. At the intersection of 74/76 and North JK Powell Boulevard, Mr. Mullet’s vehicle was shot at. Mr. Mullet’s vehicle traveled off the road on the east side of Highway 701, traveled up an embankment, through a field, struck a decorative fence, coming to rest in brush behind Whiteville Memorial Cemetery. Mr. Mullet was shot in the city limits of Whiteville but his vehicle came to rest in the county.

We spoke to friends and family frustrated and grieving the teen’s death.

“It’s just another murder here and nothing is being done about it,” says Connie Long who knows the family and knew the teen.

Investigators say the child was found unharmed, but once family got there, they say things got heated with law enforcement.

“They arrested the mother for no reason at all, trying to get her child,” says Long.

We have reached out to the Sheriff’s Office to confirm they in fact arrested the twenty seven year old mother. When we spoke to the SBI they did not confirm whether or not she was arrested but that the child was returned to her.

“We need some help in Columbus County get out we want justice for this,” Long says.

This investigation is being handled as a homicide. Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, Whiteville Police Department, and NC State Bureau of Investigation are working together on this investigation. If you have information concerning this investigation, please use the following contact information:

Columbus County Sheriff’s Office (910) 640-6629

Whiteville Police Department (910) 642-5111

NC SBI (800) 334-3000

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