The former owner of a Statesville auto body shop was shot to death Sunday in Wilkes County in what is reportedly being investigated as a road rage incident.
The Wilkes Journal-Patriot reports that Kelly Michael Black, 56, died after a shooting on U.S. 421 in Roaring River, a community about 7 miles east of Wilkesboro. His son, 25-year-old Stephen Michael Black of Statesville, also was shot and remained hospitalized Thursday.
The Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office directed questions to Chief Deputy David Carson, who did not return multiple calls Thursday.
The Journal-Patriot reported that in a 911 call, the man suspected of being the shooter told dispatchers that one of the Blacks had pulled a gun on him before he fired. He remained on the scene until emergency responders arrived.
No arrests had been announced as of late Thursday, but the paper reported that the suspected shooter had been questioned and investigators were consulting with prosecutors about possible charges.
Father and son
Kelly Black owned B&B Collision Center on N.C. 115 before moving to Wilkes County a few years ago, according to family members.
“I am still unable to speak,” his wife, Tonya Black, wrote in a statement. “He is my soul mate and I miss him so much. I carry him with me each day and it doesn’t get easier. He was the best man I have ever met and the last first love I will ever know.”
Kelly Black lived in Hamptonville, according to his obituary. He raced cars and has two children, four stepchildren and three grandchildren. His funeral will be Saturday in North Wilkesboro.
The Black family gave the following statement to the Record & Landmark:
“Kelly was a best friend to everyone. His strength and integrity was something to be proud of. His sense of humor and the way he made us laugh will be missed. He had a deep love for family and friends. He had a special relationship with God and he had a devotion to everything he touched. He was quick to forgive but most importantly his death didn’t match his life as he had many titles. He was a son, husband, brother, father, uncle, grandfather to name a few. We love you Kelly. You made a real difference.”
Stephen Black was in stable condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, family said. Black is a graduate of West Iredell High School, has a 1-year-old son and was recently engaged.
Stephen Black’s cousin, Christy Black, said the family is still in shock. She said Stephen and Kelly were inseparable.
“They were like best friends,” Christy Black said. “You never saw one without the other. It was like Pete and Repeat.”
She said the family is praying for Stephen while waiting for answers.
An online fundraiser to help pay for Stephen Black’s medical bills has been set up at www.gofundme.com/stephen039s-road-to-recovery.
Road rage shooting
This is what happened on Sunday, investigators told the Journal-Patriot:
Kelly Black was driving a motorcycle east on U.S. 421 while Stephen Black was driving nearby in a pickup. The suspected shooter was in a Subaru that changed lanes and nearly ran into Kelly Black’s motorcycle.
The Blacks followed the Subaru after it exited onto Red White and Blue Road and approached the driver on foot after the vehicles stopped. The other driver reportedly fired multiple shots at them with a handgun.
Both were shot at least once in the upper body. Investigators have not revealed whether either of the Blacks was armed.