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Drive-by murder weapon sought

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Two men have been charged with the drive-by shooting death of a 28-year-old Calabash man, but sheriff’s detectives are still searching for the murder weapon.

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Sam Davis said detectives are still searching for an SKS-type assault weapon, or an AK-47, they say was used in the May 8 drive-by shooting.

Davis said James Allen Murdock died from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen, though 20-30 shots were fired from an AK-47.

“We just need some help finding it,” Davis said of the murder weapon.

Matthew Lee Baber, 25, of 7143 Channel I, Sunset Beach, and Norman Elliot Simmons, 23, of 6501 Kingtown Road, Ash, have been charged with Murdock’s murder.

Police found Murdock in a car on Pineclair Drive near Calabash just before 10 p.m. May 8. Although investigators say it was a drive-by shooting, Davis said Murdock was the target.

Murdock was inside a vehicle when he was shot, and no one else was injured.

Citing the on-going nature of the investigation, Davis would not comment on a motive for the shooting, but said gang activity was not suspected.

Sheriff’s deputies first arrested Baber on May 9, and charged him with breaking and entering. On May 15, Baber was charged with murder.

Simmons was charged with murder, and turned himself into the sheriff’s office May 20.

Baber and Simmons are in custody at the Brunswick County Detention Center on no bond.

Both suspects have criminal backgrounds, according to the Brunswick County Clerk of Court.

Simmons was found guilty of misdemeanor possession of less than ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in 2004.

In 2000, Baber was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, but convicted of a lesser offense of common law robbery. Also in 2000, Baber was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, which was dismissed by the district attorney.

In 2004, Baber was found guilty of resisting a public officer and eluding arrest.

In 2005, Baber was found guilty of assault on a government official or employee.

Baber was charged with felony probation violation in 2000, and again in 2004.

Anyone with information about the AK-47 investigators believe was used in the drive-by shooting is asked to contact Davis at the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office at 253-2777.