Jacksonville police make arrest in Sturgeon City murder

Montavous Bowen
Montavous Bowen(City of Jacksonville public safety)
Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 9:51 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2021 at 12:14 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Jacksonville police officers have arrested a man for the deadly shooting at Sturgeon City Sunday.

The City of Jacksonville says 22-year-old Montavous Bowen, of Jacksonville, was arrested Tuesday at 3 p.m. for an open count of murder and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Officials say they found Bowen at a probation and parole office in Jacksonville.

Officers got a shots fired call around 1:12 a.m. Sunday morning to the area of Sturgeon City at 50 Court St.

Officers found Dominique Rhodes, 25, of Jacksonville shot, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said Alexis Ramsay, 18, of Jacksonville was the second victim and she was taken to Onslow Memorial Hospital by car before police got there. Ramsay was then taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Ramsay’s mother says she is back home now, but doctors weren’t able to remove the bullet from her leg.

According to Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center’s website, they are a non-profit organization that specializes in civic and environmental education.

Sources tell WITN Sturgeon City was advised the event was supposed to be a birthday party “with 100 people.” However, it turned into Spook Fest 2021 according to a Facebook post.

Facebook post
Facebook post(WITN)

Chairman of the Sturgeon City Board of Directors, Don Herring issued a statement Sunday morning saying the organization that rented the facility misrepresented the event.

“On behalf of the Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center, we issue condolences to the family and friends of the victim from the Sunday morning incident. Sturgeon City will use this incident to review our policies and procedures with the Jacksonville Police Department and other authorities. We regret that this incident took place, and that the organization that rented our facility misrepresented the event that occurred.”

Don Herring, Sturgeon City Board of Directors Chairman

Herring and his team found out about the Facebook post after the shooting took place.

“We were quite surprised and shocked to see that what was secured under one agreement, and then the alternate use that was planned for it, based on the publication that we’ve seen,” Herring said.

Herring said the environmental center was formed to celebrate environmental restoration projects and restore habitat to the New River through educational programming.

“That we share our building with the community for worthy events helps offset some of our costs. We want to work to ensure all events at our building are safe,” Herring said.

Herring confirmed that there are no surveillance cameras positioned towards the external areas of the building, nor in the parking lot where the shooting happened.

As his team moves forward with reevaluating the event rental vetting process, they will also consider additional security measures.

“We’re striving to make this one of the safest sites in the city,” said Herring. “What we learn from this investigation and the outcome of it will definitely strengthen and improve our services to our community.”

City Manager Richard Woodruff told WITN, “While the city owns this facility, it is under lease to the nonprofit and therefore the city does not have any involvement in the operation nor in approving the lease of the facility.”

Investigators ask anyone with information to contact the police department.

“We believe the incident may have been caught on video by several patrons, and would ask them to consider sending that video to the investigator or Crime Stoppers. This is an open and ongoing investigation and detectives are continuing to follow up on leads.”

Capt. Mike Capps, Investigative Services Supervisor

Investigators are saying this is still an open and ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact JPD Criminal Investigations Division Detective Ashley Gilley at 910-938-6407 or or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

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