Shooting suspect being held on $1 million bond

Jun. 18—princeton — A Mercer County man being held at a regional jail on a $1 million cash-only bond is facing multiple felonies stemming from an exchange of gunfire June 14 outside a hotel near Princeton

Christopher Antonie Wilborn Jr., 21, of Princeton has been charged with felonies including four counts of wanton endangerment, malicious assault and three counts of unlawful assault, according to a criminal complaint filed by Detective-Lieutenant S.A. Sommers of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department. Wilborn is currently being held at the Southern Regional Jail on a $1 million cash-only bond.

Deputies interviewed several people who were present during the shooting, Sommers said. Two witnesses identified Christopher (CJ) Wilborn Jr. as the aggressor, stating he pulled into the conference center's parking lot, jumped out of his car and began shooting at Rykeem Wilborn who was standing in the parking lot with other people.

Two other witnesses said that Rykeem Wilborn returned fire once he was fired upon, Sommers said.

The shooting resulted in three adults and a 5-year-old child being hospitalized for gunshot wounds. One other adult was grazed by a bullet on his face but did not go to the hospital. All five of these people were in the direction Christopher Wilborn Jr. was shooting, Sommers said in the report.

"And the two people shooting were all family," Sommers said at the scene Friday evening. "It was not an indiscriminate type what people call a mass shooting. This was an argument and a fight between family."

Wilborn left the area and his vehicle was found later.

"While I was at the scene, I received information that Christopher Wilborn Jr. wanted to turn himself in to law enforcement," Sommers said. "I traveled to Green Valley where I met Christopher Wilborn Jr. and arrested him without incident. I transported him to the Mercer County Sheriff's Department where he was processed. After processing he was transported to the Southern Regional Jail."

Christopher Wilborn Jr. later appeared before Magistrate Mike Flanigan. Flanigan set the $1 million cash-only bond and sent Wilborn back to the regional jail.

The Mercer County Sheriff's Department was assisted by the West Virginia State Police, Princeton Police Department, Mercer County Emergency Management, East River Volunteer Fire Department, Princeton Rescue and Bluefield Rescue.

According to records at the Mercer County Circuit Clerk's Office, Wilborn was out on bond and awaiting trial on charges stemming from a March 11, 2022 shooting at a High Street church in Princeton. Wilborn, then 19, was charged with attempt to commit a felony: to wit, first-degree murder; wanton endangerment involving a firearm; and conspiracy to inflict injury to persons or property.

The 2022 shooting occurred at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church on High Street. Wilborn allegedly fired at the two individuals when they came outside the church, according to previous reports in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Around 23 shell casings were found in a parking lot about 83 yards from the church, Detective S.M. Severt with the Princeton Police Department testified during a preliminary hearing in April 2022.

Detective-Lieutenant Eric Pugh with the Princeton Police Department said at the 2022 preliminary hearing that one of two men who was shot at had been found by a Mercer County Grand Jury to have lawfully killed a relative to Christopher Wilborn Jr.. Pugh said in his report that he believed "this to be the motivation for the shooting."

Christopher Wilborn Jr. was scheduled for trial in the 2022 case on Sept. 24 this year before Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills. Wilborn was free on bond, according to court records.

Attempted murder has a possible sentence of three to 15 years in prison.

According to the West Virginia Code, wanton endangerment involving a firearm carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. Wanton endangerment is when "any person who wantonly performs any act with a firearm which creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury."

Malicious assault has a possible sentence of two to 10 years in prison. Malicious assault occurs when "any person maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts or wounds any person, or by any means cause him or her bodily injury with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill," according to the West Virginia Code.

Unlawful assault has a possible sentence of one to five years. Unlawful assault occurs when "any person maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts or wounds any person, or by any means cause him or her bodily injury with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill," according to the state code.

Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at