2 fatal shootings in 2 days. Suspect on the run

By ELIOT DUKE
Of the Record staff
Posted 7/21/21

LILLINGTON — Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats warned the public to stay away from a murder suspect considered armed and dangerous.

Coats announced during a Wednesday morning press …

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2 fatal shootings in 2 days. Suspect on the run

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LILLINGTON — Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats warned the public to stay away from a murder suspect considered armed and dangerous.

Coats announced during a Wednesday morning press conference that his office charged 24-year-old Bristow Moashaun Lafarr with first-degree murder in the death of Adam Vazquez, a Spring Lake man found fatally shot at his home on Peter Mason Drive.

“ is on the run,” Coats said. “He is considered armed and dangerous. We are asking for the public’s help. Anybody that seems him, please don’t approach him. Contact us. He’s a murderer. Let us handle it.”

Harnett County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency call in reference to a gunshot wound at 4:23 p.m. Tuesday afternoon on Pete Mason Drive near Ray Road in Spring Lake. Emergency responders found Vazquez suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. Vazquez died from his injury.

“The suspects did not know each other and had just met that day,” said Coats. “The motive was robbery. No property had been taken. He stole his money. showed up at the victim’s house. I have no reason to believe this wasn’t an isolated incident, but again he is a murderer and a fugitive. Please call us with anything you have.”

Wednesday’s press conference provided updates on two fatal shootings happening less than 36 hours apart on different sides of the county.

Coats started the briefing with news that Margie Pipkin, a 72-year-old grandmother shot while sitting at a stop sign on Bunnlevel Erwin Road Monday morning, died as a result of her head injury.

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats holds a photo of Artis Lewis Elliott wanted for the killing of 72-year-old Margie Pipkin. Elliott surrendered to deputies moments after a press conference ended Wednesday at the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office.
Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats holds a photo of Artis Lewis Elliott wanted for the killing of 72-year-old Margie Pipkin. Elliott surrendered to …

With both shootings happening in broad daylight in rural parts of an already rural county, Coats said he needs more help.

“We’re not a big office and I’m not making excuses,” Coats said. “We have a little over 135,000 people in this county and I only have 12 deputies per squad. You’re basically looking at one deputy for every 55 square miles. I need more deputies, the commissioners know I do, but they always got financial problems. But that’s no excuse for these people acting foolishly and killing people.”

Coats said he understands the public’s frustrations with so many shootings across the county. Pipkin’s death marked the fifth shooting on Bunnlevel-Erwin Road/Beaver Dam Road since January.

“I got criticized by somebody the other day, but let me say it again: it’s idiots doing these shootings,” said Coats. “Dunn had one a year or so ago in a Wendy’s drive-thru in broad daylight. The man was sitting in his car with people in front and behind, and a guy gets out, walks up and shoots him. It’s disturbing to law enforcement officers as well as the public. And the pubic I know felt just like I did, and I still feel this way, they’re mad and they’re angry that these things are going on.”

When asked if he needed federal help to curb the violence, Coats said his department also managed to solve both murders this week.

“Would I consider? They’re not going to be able to stop it,” Coats said. “I’d take any help. Am I refusing it? No, but they’ve got their issues too. When you can solve two in two days, we’re doing everything right, but it also took the public’s help to help us with it too. This is happening out of the municipalities. When you’ve got 650 square miles to cover and you’ve got 12 deputies doing it, it’s hard to be at every place, but you do the best you can.”

Witnesses reported seeing a vehicle flee the Pete Mason Drive area.

Coats asked anyone with information to call the HSCO tipline at 910-893-0240.

Eliot Duke can be reached at eduke@mydailyrecord.com or at 910-230-2038.

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