FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Fayetteville Police are still trying to track down the gunman who opened fire outside a popular barbecue restaurant Tuesday night.
It happened right outside Smokey Bones near Cross Creek Mall.
Investigators said at the time that they suspected this was not a random crime, and they confirmed their suspicions Wednesday.
In fact, police said the restaurant was packed with dinner customers, some of whom watched a drug deal in the parking lot go bad.
"The victim backs into the parking space. The suspect pulls in next to him. There was some type of altercation," said Lt. Mike Geske with the Fayetteville Police Department. "The suspects shoots the victim several times, the victim falls out of the car, the suspect shoots him again. Inside the car we found narcotics."
Police said 21-year-old Algeria McNair was shot in the face, chest and knee. He is alive, they said, but in critical condition at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
Algeria McNair was shot outside the Smokey Bones in Fayetteville.
An eyewitness who called 911 said he was pumping gas at a convenience store beside the restaurant when he heard the gunfire, then saw a grey SUV speed off across the mall parking lot.
Police said they believe McNair also had a handgun but didn't get a chance to use it.
Narcotics officers said they are seeing more and more disturbing incidents such as this one, with drug dealers using public areas and parking lots to do business, believing they are safer in plain sight.
"(They) don't care where their rounds are going to go," Geske said.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting investigation is asked to contact Detective G. Watson with the Fayetteville Police Department at (910) 303-9554 or Crimestoppers at (910) 483-TIPS (8477). Crimestoppers information can also be submitted electronically, by visiting http://fay-nccrimestoppers.org and completing the anonymous online tip sheet or by text-a-tip on your mobile device by sending a message to 274637 (in the text box type "4Tip" followed by your message).