Police search for suspects after man shot by burglars

Police search for suspects after man shot by burglars

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by BORA KIM & RICHARD DEVAYNE / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @richardwcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:22 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 1:33 PM

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. -- Investigators in Rowan County were on the scene of a shooting all day Monday.

Around 10:15 Monday morning, a couple returned to their home on Chenault Road after spending Thanksgiving with their family.

According to the Rowan County Sheriff, Kevin Auten, the couple came home and noticed something was wrong.

"He took his wife to a safe location and then drove toward the house," Auten said, as he stood a few hundred yards from where the home invasion occurred.  "Then they heard shots and someone called 911."

Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies found the victim near the woods behind his home, in his car suffering from a gunshot wound. Officials say the victim apparently lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree. He was airlifted to CMC Main, where he’s listed in serious condition.

Authorities say it's not clear whether the man, Marcus Kaufman, confronted the burglar inside or outside of the home, but it appears the man got into his vehicle to chase the burglar and was shot in the process.

A neighbor told NBC Charlotte that it appeared the house had been ransacked.

"I heard like eight shots," said one of the victim's neighbors, who did not want to give his name.  "He was a good guy -- he worked with his hands.  They are a good Christian family."

Investigators say they are interviewing people about the shooting and want anyone with any information to give the Rowan County Sheriff's Office a call.

Kaufman's childhood friend, Conrad Eaton, said the 25-year-old is active in his church's youth ministry and as a firefighter for the Rowan County Volunteer Fire Department and is heavily involved in his community.

"There is a lot of support and definitely there is relief we did hear some good news, and things are starting to move in the right direction.  I think a lot of people are in a lot of shock yet at the same time there is hope there," Eaton said.

Kaufman's church family at Cleveland Believer's Fellowship gathered at the hour he was headed for surgery to offer their prayers.

"They removed part of the skull to relieve pressure.  He is out of surgery," said Eaton.  He said his friend had been married for a year and a half, and his wife was expecting their first child -- a son -- in February.

Eaton said the couple spent the holidays in Georgia with Kaufman's wife's parents.  They made a stop at his parent's house before arriving home.

"He sensed when he got back from his parent's place that basically something was not right.  So he moved his wife away to a trusted neighbors.  At that time, shots were being fired and he tried to make an escape but unfortunately it didn't happen," said Eaton.  "His wife did hear it (gunshots), and she called a friend.  They found the house ransacked and eventually found him before deputies arrived about 15 minutes later.

Eaton's brother, Merritt, expressed his disbelief over the day's events.

"It is so shocking, just unbelievable.  It is one of those things that is horrifying to me.  He is such a caring person, well known, lots of family.  He does so much good and I hate to see this," he said.

Monday night, officials released additional information saying they're looking for a teal or blue car -- possibly a Pontiac. Officials believe the car may have broken down or appeared broken down near Chenault Road. The Sheriff's Office says the vehicle was occupied by at least one black male.

A $5,000 reward has also been offered by the sheriff's office for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or persons responsible for this crime.

Meanwhile, a Rowan County Sheriff's deputy responding to the incident on Chenault Road was involved in a traffic accident. Authorities say a white van ran a stop sign in front of the deputy, who was in a marked patrol car with lights and sirens engaged, causing the deputy to swerve. The patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree. The deputy suffered only minor injuries.

The Sheriff's Office says the white van left the scene of the accident without stopping. The van and it's owner were later located, and the owner was cited by NCHP.

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