Murder Suspect In Custody

Michael Gaines. Independent/Pitt County Sheriff’s department

A “person of interest” in a fatal shooting at the Shinnecock Reservation last week was arrested in North Carolina on Sunday, August 18.

Michael Gaines, who told New York State Police he was living on the Shinnecock Reservation, was picked up on a charge of breaking and entering a motor vehicle. Police in Pitt County quickly ascertained he was wanted in New York.

NY State Troopers believe Gaines was on the scene when 43-year-old Mtundo Vanterpool was shot to death at about 5:30 AM on Friday, August 16, at the reservation. New York Police believe both men lived on the reservation but said neither was a tribal member.

Vanterpool had a drug-related arrest on his record from a decade ago.

Pitt County authorities said Gaines is listed as a resident of Goldsboro. They indicated he would likely be sent back to New York to face charges here.

The vehicle break-in happened on Highway 11 north near Bethel, and Gaines was found walking in the area by deputies.

He remained behind bars in Pitt County as of August 20 facing felony breaking and entering charges.

New York State Police are asking for information in connection to the case. There is a reward out for any that leads to the conviction of the murderer.

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