The last week of January 2011 was a bad week involving multiple shootings in the area. The most recent happened Friday just before noon at the Yadkin River Grocery and Hardware Store in Ferguson. A man, James Phillip Church, Jr., was attempting to rob the store. According to Capt. David Carson of the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, Church assaulted the female clerk, and she reached for a handgun and shot him. Apparently Church did not have a weapon but had put his hands on the clerk just before she shot him. Church died at the scene. Carson said that the clerk was acquainted with Church. It is believed a man was in the store at the time of the attempted robbery and witnessed the shooting. Sheriff’s Officials are interested in questioning this witness. He is described as a man in his 60’s with gray hair and about 5’4” to 5’7”. If anyone has any information, they can call the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Department at 903-7600.
There was also a shooting Thursday night in Hays. Wilkes County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to a disturbance involving Harold Hobbert Absher. Deputies found Absher walking down the road and offered to give him a ride home. However, at the intersection of Yellow Banks and Traphill roads, Absher wanted out of the car. Since he was not under arrest, the deputy let him out of the car. Absher returned to the St. Clair Road in Hays where he again got into a confrontation with a man. He was shot in the shoulder by the wife of the man he was fighting with. Absher is listed in stable condition at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. No charges have yet been filed in this shooting as the investigation is still underway.
Earlier in the week on Tuesday night, two Wilkes County Sheriff’s Deputies were involved in a shooting in Roaring River. In that incident Barry Lee Buckingham of North Ridge Road was shot by deputies. After deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call, Buckingham was seen on his wife in the doorway of their house, and he was holding a long gun whiles standing over her. Deputies ordered Buckingham to lower the weapon, he refused to lower the gun, and instead, he turned the gun on the deputies. Buckingham was shot by deputies and was in critical condition at Baptist in Winston. The SBI is still investigating that officer involved shooting.