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At least 20 rounds fired during deadly Kidder St. mass shooting, Wilmington police continue investigation

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 4:17 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Wilmington Police Department continues to investigate the Kidder Street mass shooting and officials are asking witnesses to come forward to help piece together what led up to the deadly incident.

The police department held a new conference Friday afternoon to provide an update on the investigation into the April 3 shooting, where three people were killed and four others injured.

Captain Thomas Tilmon, the head of the WPD’s criminal investigation division, said a birthday party with at least 40 guests was being held at the home, located at 710 Kidder Street, prior to the shooting.

Tilmon said some of the guests thought the gunfire was part of the DJ’s show, but when they realized it was real, a great deal of panic set in as they all tried to escape the small, dimly-lit room.

“Folks were trying to leave out of doors that were barricaded shut, there were gunshot victims in all areas within the room. It was difficult to egress the room with all the gunshot victims. It was a very tragic scene — it was very chaotic,” Tilmon said.

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Approximately 20 rounds were fired during the shooting by multiple gunmen, Tilmon said. He added that gang members were believed to have been involved.

Tilmon declined to elaborate on what started the shooting, saying they’ve uncovered some motives but revealing that information would be more appropriate at trial. He also wouldn’t say if any of those killed or injured were among the shooters.

Tilmon added that investigators documented, collected, and sent off for forensic examination hundreds of pieces of evidence. Some of that evidence has come back, but they’re still waiting on others.

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The process has been slow and arduous, Tilmon admitted, and said that forensic analysis can’t tell the full story.

“This case is like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle that has no image printed on it. We have a lot of puzzle pieces and they do fit together but there are no clues to how they fit together,” he said.

What’s critical for the case to move forward, he said, is information from people who were at the home at the time of the shooting.

“Some of the victims in that case have been reluctant to be interviewed by police and some have absolutely refused to make any statements to police,” Tilmon said.

Other witnesses were having difficulty recalling the confusing events at the time of shooting due to poor lighting in the confined room and the DJ’s loud music and strobe lights.

A total of 12 witnesses have been interviewed, according to Tilmon, but not all of them have had relevant information.

“We ask that any person with additional information, no matter how large or small, to please come forward. If you are victim and you have no cooperated with law enforcement in this case, it is urgent for you to come forward to tell us what information you know,” Tilmon said. “Eyewitnesses are critical to the solution to this violence. The victims in this case deserve justice.”

Tilmon declined to say if the owner of the Kidder Street home was cooperating with detectives but did say that the owner could face legal troubles.

In the meantime, Chief Donny Williams said the Wilmington Police Department will continue its efforts in the enforcement and prosecution of gun crimes in the city.

He said these measures would include “high visibility patrols, directed investigations, coordinating with other law enforcement partners, utilize available gun crime technology, working with state and federal prosecutors, working with our faith communities and other leaders, and working with our communities that are being impacted by [gun] violence.”

If you have any information, contact the Wilmington Police Department at (910)-343-3609 or use the Wilmington, NC PD app for 100% anonymous methods. You can also text an anonymous tip to 847411 (tip411) by including the keyword WPDNC.

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