Person of interest in custody after fatal Jacksonville shooting

Person of interest in custody after fatal Jacksonville shooting

JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - A person of interest in the shooting death of a man in Jacksonville has turned himself in.

The Jacksonville Police Department said 30-year-old Antonio Lemont Best (pictured right) called detectives by telephone and was taken into custody at 11:26 a.m. Thursday.

Best is considered a person of interest in the shooting death of 26-year-old Robert Ward (pictured left), of Market Street.

Investigators responded to the area of Market Street and Bell Fork Road at about 7:09 p.m. Wednesday. Family members said Ward died after being shot several times.

A neighbor found Ward's body in a wooded area, lying on a concrete pad. That man's wife said she heard wailing coming from the area where the shooting happened.

"I'm glad I didn't go any further than I did because the sound I heard from coming off of Market Street, I don't ever want to hear that again. It could have been his relatives," said Johnnie Williams.

Although Best is only considered a person of interest in the fatal shooting, he is  charged with felony conspiracy robbery with a dangerous weapon, according to police.

"The preliminary investigation revealed that Best conspired with Robert Ward to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.  The investigation is ongoing.  We continue to conduct interviews and are actively following leads." stated Lt. Ronnie Dorn of Jacksonville Police.

The investigation on the shooting is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact JPD Det. Gary Manning at 910-938-6436 or

Crime Stoppers will offer up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest. Callers can reach Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Callers are not required to reveal their identities. Information can also be anonymously sent to Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 247637.

Family members said Ward was born and raised in Jacksonville.

"He just got caught back up in the streets," said Ward's mother, Melissa Davis. "People became jealous and people kept trying to reel him back in to what he didn't want to be in anymore, and it caught up with him."

"That's the only son, the only kid I have," said Ward's father, Robert Ward Sr. "I got a lot of grandkids by him so I'll just try to do the best I can, try to raise them up. They're gonna miss him like I'm always gonna miss him."

Ward's family said the exact reason for the shooting is unknown.

"I just want to see him, touch him, talk to him. But until justice is served, I'm not gonna be happy," Davis said.

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