MOREHEAD CITY, CARTERET COUNTY - A man accused of firing shots into a truck with a couple inside at a Morehead City gas station appeared in court Monday.
Dennis Clinton, 32, of Greenville, is charged with attempted murder, discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, and damage to property.
Morehead City Police said the shooting happened at the Handy Mart at 3809 Arendell St. at about 3:10 a.m. Monday.
"It could've been a lot more tragic," said Lt. Kelly Guthrie with Morehead City Police. "At that time in the morning there were not a lot of people who were out."
The male and female victims were getting gas for their truck. The man then went into the store to pay while the woman stayed in the vehicle, police said.
The woman told officers the suspect --later identified as Clinton-- approached the truck and made a comment, then lifted his shirt and exposed a handgun.
The male victim returned from paying the gas and tried to drive way, but Clinton began shooting at the truck, the police said. One bullet traveled through the back window, the driver's headrest, and finally through the front windshield. The victim said the bullet grazed his head.
"He actually crashed into the pumps that were there at the gas station," Lt. Guthrie said. "It was very lucky neither one of these victims were hit."
The male victim then got out of the truck and ran away on foot while Clinton continued shooting at him, said investigators. Meanwhile, the female victim hid at the truck's floor board.
Police said the two victims were not hurt.
Clinton was later arrested in the parking lot of Carteret General Hospital, said investigators. Ge was placed in jail on a $250,000 bond.
A motive in the shooting was unknown.