Third suspect arrested in shooting of western Rowan man

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

UPDATE: Khari Dewayne McClelland was indicted Monday by a grand jury in the shooting of Marcus Kauffman, District Attorney Brandy Cook said during McClelland’s first court appearance this morning.

The grand jury returned a true bill on the charges of attempted murder, felony breaking and entering, felony larceny and felony larceny of a firearm. McCelland was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center Monday night under a $5 million bond.

It’s not yet clear if the others charged in the case were also indicted.

McClelland was escorted into a Rowan Superior courtroom by sheriff’s deputies in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit. He was handcuffed and wore leg shackles.

During the proceeding, which lasted less than five minutes, McClelland was appointed Salisbury Attorney John Basinger.

Tramel Devon Hart, 18, of 212 Highland Point Ave., Harmony, is still wanted for accessory after the fact, a felony.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Staff Sgt. Jason Owens 704-216-8683 or 1st Lt. Chad Moose 704-216-8687 at the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

By Shavonne Potts

A week after Rowan investigators tied Khari Dewayne McClelland to the shooting of a western Rowan County man, the 23-year-old is returned to Rowan County to face charges for the attempted murder of Marcus “Marco” Kauffman.

McClelland was arrested Monday afternoon by Catawba County law enforcement officials. Kauffman, 25, remains in the hospital after being shot in the back of the head after intercepting a break-in at his Chenault Road home. Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten said during a Monday morning press conference it’s a “high possibility” Kauffman was shot with his own handgun.

Authorities are still looking for McClelland’s brother, Tramel Devon Hart, 18, of Harmony, wanted in connection with the crime. Hart is considered armed and dangerous, and anyone knowing his location should call 911 immediately.

Kauffman was seriously wounded Dec. 2 around 10 a.m. after he and his wife, Maryann, returned to their home to find a car parked in their driveway with the hood up.

Kauffman dropped his wife, who is pregnant, off at a neighbor’s house then returned to his home. He encountered two men, one of whom was standing beside the blue car.

Kauffman asked if the men needed any help, but quickly realized his home was being robbed. He called 911 to report the break-in and the call was abruptly lost.

Kauffman was shot in the head while he was inside his car and subsequently crashed into a tree located at the end of a corn field near the couple’s home.

Kauffman owned a Glock .45-caliber handgun, and investigators recovered six spent .45-caliber shell casings.

“It would be speculative at this point, but it’s a high possibility that that could happen,” Auten said of Kauffman being shot with his own gun. “We don’t have those answers in a week, but it’s certainly a possibility.”

He said there are tests that can confirm whether the gun the suspects used belonged to Kauffman.

On Friday night, two of the four people involved in the incident were arrested and charged. Auten said the Rowan Sheriff’s Office was aided by the Statesville Police Department in the arrest of Jaylend Daquanne Turner, 19, of Statesville, who has been charged with attempted murder, felony breaking and entering, felony larceny of a firearm and felony larceny. Turner remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under $3 million bond.

Michael Dwayne Teasley, 25, also of Statesville, was charged with accessory after the fact, a felony. He remains in the county jail under $500,000 bond. Khari Dewayne McClelland, 23, of Harmony, was arrested Monday, and booked into the Rowan County jail at 10:51 p.m. McClelland, who had been identified a week ago as a suspect, faces charges of attempted murder, felony breaking and entering, felony larceny and felony larceny of a firearm.

Hart is wanted for accessory after the fact, a felony.

Kauffman’s family makes regular updates via a Facebook page, “Praying for Marco,” which has reached more than 41,000 likes and countless shares.

According to the Facebook page, doctors continue to monitor the pressure on Kauffman’s brain. The family is praying a change in ventilator makes a difference and his body responds well to it.

Auten also thanked the community for its help following a plea for information from the sheriff’s office. He said investigators have been able to take information from the community to help build a case.

The Sheriff said it is not clear how all of the four suspects know one another, but investigators believe they do know one another. The men have said very little to law enforcement.

Auten addressed other break-ins in and around the Chenault Road area saying while all crimes and break-ins are important, the agency’s priority has been the Kauffman case.

“Obviously when you have a break-in with a man shot, almost killed and is still struggling for his life, you put priority on that case. There are break-ins in that area that we will definitely take a look at and continue to look at in conjunction with this investigation,” Auten said.

When asked about the concern of safety among residents living in that area, Auten said, his department is “working hard to get these other gentlemen brought to justice.”

He said the crime appears to be a random act, but encouraged people to be on guard and aware of their surroundings.

“Don’t be afraid to call in suspicious vehicles, suspicious people and suspicious activity that’s what we are here for,” Auten said.

Anyone with information on this case is being asked to contact Staff Sgt. Jason Owens at 704-216-8683 or 1st Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687.