Chief’s neighbor is arrested for May 31 drive-by shooting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2004

GREENSBORO – All that separated Greensboro Police Chief Claude Hamilton and a man suspected of a drive-by shooting was a street – his own street.

Greensboro police arrested Frankie Banks, age unavailable, of Apple Lane Road and Hamilton’s across-the-street neighbor, for the May 31 shooting of two Hale County youth that landed one in a Birmingham hospital in critical condition.

“I went to his house and was talking with his mother,” Hamilton said. “He came up while we were talking.”

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Hamilton said based on descriptions of the Ford pickup truck that Banks was driving, and other information developed in the investigation, Banks confessed to the incident.

“I said ‘look, man, someone has identified you as being in the truck’ and he went ahead and told he had shot toward a vehicle and didn’t know he had hurt anybody until hearing about it after news reports,” Hamilton said.

The consistency of the stories given by the two youth helped solve the crime, Hamilton said.

“Basically we finished up (the investigation) and the truck’s description and everything both victims said was consistent with (Banks’) truck and the other evidence we found,” he said.

The two boys – 16- and 17 years-old, were headed home along Highway 61 South after finishing a shift at McDonald’s where they worked. The boys said a white Ford pickup truck began tailgating them and would not pass them.

“They even slowed down to let the truck pass,” Hamilton said.

When the truck did pass, the occupant fired “three or four” times into the boys’ car, striking the driver in the neck and critically injuring the passenger who was also wounded in the neck.

“He’s doing fine now,” Hamilton said.

Banks is charged with shooting into a moving vehicle and first degree assault. Hamilton said Banks remains in the Hale County Jail pending bond.