Family: Deadly Isle of Wight workplace shooting happened over broken cell phone

Isle of Wight

COMO, N.C. (WAVY) — The family of the man fatally shot at an Isle of Wight County warehouse Thursday says it was all over a broken cell phone.

Family tells 10 On Your Side it was Rakim Breeden’s first day at work.

“Why?” asked Mary Breeden. “Why did you do this over a phone, and it hurts?”

It was Breeden’s first day at work at Safco in Isle of Wight County. Family says he was to work side-by-side with girlfriend Belinda Hall.

“He was so happy to get the job for us at Safco so we could work together,” Hall said.

Just after lunch, Breeden accidentally knocked Preston Thomas’ phone to the ground. The phone was broken. Breeden offered to pay to fix it, but Thomas was angry. A manager took them both outside to cool off. That’s when deputies say Thomas got a gun.

“You could see outside and as soon as I’m walking up, I see the Preston [firing],” Hall added. “I’m seeing the smoke and I hear somebody hollering and I know it was Rakim’s voice.”

The family says Breeden was shot four times. He ran for the door and collapsed in Hall’s arms.

“I laid on the floor right beside him and I begged him to please fight,” Hall said. “He looked at me and he said ‘Please tell my mother I love her and that I’ll always love you, Belinda. I love you so much.'”

“I felt so lost and I couldn’t get there fast enough to the hospital. but it was too late when I got there,” said Breeden’s mother Mary Breeden. “It was too late.”

Mary Breeden is a single mother. She says her son graduated college and spent time in the U.S. Army.

“I feel numb,” she added. “My body is here and I’m just praying.”

The job at Safco was meant to be a new beginning, a new job, and a new outlook on life, but that life was cut short.

“I’m just waiting back here in his room to hear that door open and that it’s him, but I have to come to reality that he’s never coming home,” Hall said.

Deputies are still searching for Preston Thomas and looking to the public for help.

“I just want justice,” Breeden added. “It won’t bring back my son I know, but he needs justice. I need justice. We need justice.”

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