NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - A Havelock High School student, accused of killing a retired Marine and injuring five others in a bar shooting over the weekend, made his first court appearance Wednesday morning.
Jonathan Richard Pugh, 18, is charged with murder, for allegedly opening fire Sunday at the "Flyers" bar, located on the 400 block of Fontana Blvd in Havelock. Todd Asa North, 39, a retired Marine and bouncer at the bar, was shot and killed.
In the New Bern courthouse Wednesday morning, Pugh was told that if convicted, he could get the death penalty or life in prison without parole. The appearance was held in the basement and was closed to the public, because investigators said there had been threats to the suspect. As a result, Pugh was ordered to be transferred to Raleigh.
Pugh is being held without bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for May 4.
According to investigators, it all started early Sunday morning, when a fist fight broke out at the "Flyers" bar. Several bouncers, including North, then dragged the fighters out of the building.
But police said Pugh, one of the people kicked out, returned to the bar with a handgun and opened fire. As North was trying to shield others from bullets, he was shot and killed, according to investigators. The autopsy report revealed North was shot four times.
Police released the 911 calls made right after the shooting:
Caller: Somebody has... somebody just got shot!
911 Dispatch: Who got shot?
Caller: North! We need an ambulance. Please... I can't lose him.
Another Caller: I swear, when they all got kicked out of [the bar], I knew they were coming back in here with guns. I knew it.... I'm shaking."
Before he died, North returned fire at Pugh, injuring the suspect, police said. The suspect was then taken to a hospital.
Five other people were also hurt: two were hit directly by bullets and three were wounded by bullet fragments, police said. They were taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center.
Although Pugh has been charged with one count of murder, more charges are possible, said District Attorney Scott Thomas. The suspect is a junior at Havelock High School. According to records, Pugh had previously pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors in 2012.
North, of Havelock, had served in the Marine Corps for about 20 years. Witnesses said the veteran did all he could to protect the people inside the bar.
"He stepped right in front of the door. Even up until his last breath, he was trying to lock the door so the [suspect] couldn't get in," said bartender Lisa Taylor.
New Bern resident Zachary Leingang has created a petition that requests President Obama to award North the Presidential Citizens Medal.
"Every wound North suffered was the possibility of another life saved in that establishment," Leingang wrote on the petition website (CLICK HERE TO VIEW).
North's funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, April 27 at 2 p.m., at the Cotten Funeral Home Chapel in New Bern. Memorial donations may be made to the Asa North Fund c/o 1908 D South Glenburnie Rd., New Bern, NC 28562.
North is survived by his wife, toddler son and a daughter.