HAMPSTEAD, NC (WECT) - A man accused of a shooting and killing his sister's fiance in Pender County Tuesday night is being held at the Pender County Jail with no bond.
The Pender County sheriff said Vincent Edward Smith, Jr., 29, contacted the sheriff's office Wednesday afternoon to set up a meeting place where he would turn himself in.
Smith was taken into custody around 1:15 Wednesday afternoon. He was charged with the first-degree murder of 38-year-old Donnie Lee Pridgen Jr. Members of the sheriff's office found Pridgen in Smith's home, off Highway 17 in Hampstead, after the shooting occurred. A preliminary autopsy report confirmed Pridgen died from the shooting.
Pridgen's fiance tells wect.com that she was standing next to Pridgen, when her brother reportedly shot him right in front of her. She says she was shocked, confused and devastated by the shooting.
The former bride-to-be, says she and Pridgen were supposed to get married in May. She says he was a hard worker and would have done anything for his six children. His future step-daughter, Destiny, said Pridgen loved her like she was his biological child.
"He was a hard working person, he was a loving father," said Destiny. "He loved his kids and he loved us too."
Pridgen's family says he worked at the Dock Street Oyster Bar for years. The restaurant left the following statement on their facebook page:
"[He] was a dedicated father, employee and friend," the post reads. "Please join us in praying for Donnie and his family as they are dealing with this tragedy. RIP Donnie."
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Smith served time in prison in 2009 and 2011 for assault convictions. He was arrested in 2012 in Pender County for assault charges.
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