911 calls: Son charged in mother's shooting denies being near crime

Friday, January 15, 2016
Suspected shooter in court
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The man who allegedly shot his mother inside a Fayetteville beauty salon appeared in court Friday

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- In a chilling 911 call, the man charged with shooting his mother in her hair salon Thursday afternoon denies he was near the crime scene.

Kevin Powell, Jr., 24, is charged with attempted first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Police said he walked into the D'Ambience Hair and Nail Salon on Ireland Drive Thursday, and shot his mother Derema "Miss Dee" Burch, in the face.

The I-team has learned the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office denied Powell a handgun permit in 2015. The failure categories indicate a red flag was raised through court systems. Although the exact reasons for denial are not included in the redacted permit, CCSO authorities said they're usually tied to issues like domestic assault.

Fayetteville Police records indicate Powell's parents had called law enforcement to their home 27 times in six years. Most of the calls were related to Powell's reported "psychiatric" issues, with Burch and her husband citing violent outbursts, Powell being off his medication and wanting to harm others.

In the latest call for help dated December 7, 2015, an officer reports "Stepfather seems to not want to kick him out or press charges, but wants us to do 'something.' I advised the mother and stepfather of our limited actions we can take without their assistance to help themselves."

The visit ended with "no further action."

Authorities are attempting to find out where Powell got the gun that was used in the crime.

Eyewitnesses said Powell approached Burch around 1:49 p.m. as she was working the front desk of the salon. They recount their interaction with him, and trying to save his mother after the shooting.

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In newly released 911 calls, the frantic caller tending to Burch says she doesn't know about the suspect.

911 Operator: "Do you know where the person is who shot the victim?

Caller: "Yes, she's on the floor. She's on the floor."

911 Operator:"Yes, but where's the person who shot him (correct)?"

Caller: "We don't know! We don't know!"

The caller then asks Powell where he was during the shooting. He says the following:

Caller: "Where was you at Kevin? Where was you at?"

Kevin Powell: "Just coming through the back."

Caller: "What happened? Who was in here?"

Kevin Powell: "I don't even know."

ABC11 spoke exclusively with a customer who tried to help Burch after the shooting, and neighboring salon employee who spotted Powell with a gun in the parking lot when he exited the business for a second time.

"He didn't say anything to me other than 'Yeah, that's my mom.' He just stood over me while I'm on the ground with her trying help her breathe," cried Diondra McKenzie. "He was just standing there. Just standing there watching me on the ground with his mother. He wasn't trying to help me or anything he was just standing there looking at me. She was just on the ground struggling to breathe, like, and was dying in front of my face."

"He actually came out and stood outside with us as if everything was okay, so we didn't even know that he was the one involved in the situation," said another witness. "He just stood nonchalantly watching the police move in, and that was it. And then I saw him go to the car and that's where he put the gun."

That witness alerted police to Powell, and he was arrested on scene less than 15 minutes after the shooting.

On Friday afternoon, Powell appeared before Cumberland County District Court Judge April Smith. He was accompanied by public defender, Bernie Condlin.

Powell said few words during the first appearance, responding "Yeah" when Smith asked if he understood the charges against him.

If Powell is able to post his $750,000 bond, he will be required to wear an ankle bracelet. His next court date is Feb. 3.

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