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‘Its not worth taking someone’s life:’ One dead, three injured in Columbus County shootings

Officials do not know if the two shootings are connected
Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 4:17 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2021 at 4:17 PM EST
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COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - One man is dead after shots were fired at a party in Columbus County near Cerro Gordo on Friday night.

Officials say 18-year-old Markel Evans was killed after shots rang out at a birthday party near the Five Points community around 10:30 p.m. Friday. A 14-year-old and a 16-year old were also injured by gunfire. Tuesday morning, prosecutors announced they arrested a juvenile in the homicide case.

The suspect’s name is not being released by the DA’s Office because he is under the age of 18.

Days later popped balloons, glow sticks and discarded beer cans still litter the grass and you can still see several bullet holes in the structure’s east wall.

Just a few miles down the road, the Chadbourn Police Department responded to another shooting.

The call came in 90 minutes after the Five Points incident. Investigators say a 19-year-old woman was injured when a gunman opened fire on a home on South Wilkes Street in Chadbourn. Police have not made any arrests yet in the case.

Officials do not know if the two shootings are connected. Law enforcement leaders say the biggest obstacle in terms of them catching the gunman or gunmen is that the witnesses aren’t talking to them.

“They’ll tell other people, and they’ll tell the street that they saw it, but they’re not telling us,” said Chadbourn Police Chief Ken Elliott. “Come forward. As a group, we can overcome this. You have five people come forward, next thing you know, you’ve got ten, next thing you know you got 50, next thing you know you got 100 people. These criminals, these career criminals cannot concentrate on going after all those people.”

These shootings come just one night after county leaders held a “Call to Action” to discuss ways to stop the spread of violence among young people in Columbus County. Sheriff Jody Greene said Thursday that the recent violence in the county is a “cause for alarm.”

“We just have to be more vigilant, you know, we have to have some uncomfortable conversations with our families, with our friends, with our associates. There’s no reason for people committing the crimes that they are…. there’s absolutely no reason. I don’t care if it’s bad blood, I don’t care if someone disrespects someone, it’s not worth taking someone’s life,” said town manager Jerome Chestnut. “No one wants to see what’s happening. We’re doing everything that we can to make sure that we mitigate it going forward. Eradication is out of the question, you know you can’t eradicate crime, we can only be more vigilant in the reporting and the prosecution of these crimes.”

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