GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - A man charged with three counts of attempted first degree murder, in connection to a shooting which resulted in Greenville's first homicide of 2014, was in court Monday.
Officials say the charges are connected to a shooting at the Rosemont Apartments, which happened on April 5th, and left 20-year-old Zachery Russian dead.
Detectives say on the night of the homicide, they arrested Malik Weston on drug charges. They then developed more evidence and on Thursday, they charged him with the three counts of attempted first degree murder. They say Weston has been in the Pitt County Detention Center since the night Russian was killed.
"Just because he's been charged with this serious of a crime, it don't necessarily mean that he's guilty of it," said one of Weston's family members, who asked to have his identity concealed, and spoke to us after court was adjourned.
Police say they believe Weston is the person witnesses saw leaving the scene of a car crash on County Home Road. That is where officers say they found Russian, who had been shot.
Three people are already charged with Russian's murder. They are 41-year-old James Murray, 36-year-old Earl Ward and 18-year-old Brandon Maldonado.
"There was gunfire that was exchanged. Not sure who was the one that was the initiator, but I know that his friend ended up losing his life behind it," said Weston's unidentified family member.
Warrants show that investigators believe Weston used a handgun to shoot at Murray, Ward and Maldonado.
The day of their first court appearances, Kevin Ward, brother of Earl Ward, said Earl, Murray and Maldonado were being shot at when one of them returned fire, allegedly killing Russian.
"He was shot at first, and his car was hit, and he was just doing what he knows to protect himself," said Kevin Ward. "He would of did what any man would have did. What Chief Hassan probably would have did that if it came to it."
For more on Ward, Murray and Maldonado's first appearances click here.
Weston's bond remains at $1.5 million.
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