Neighbors fear for own safety after recent shootings

Recent gun violence in the Port City has neighbors on edge as five teenagers face charges and two families grieve for their children.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:01 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Recent gun violence in Port City has neighbors on edge as five teenagers face charges and two families grieve for their children.

Saturday night, police responded to shots fired on Anderson Street near the Rankin Street intersection. A 17-year-old was hurt and ultimately died of his injuries. Another 17-year-old was arrested and charged with his murder.

“When the other day I heard a 17-year-old child died, you know how bad that tore my heart up?” said Donna Marie, who lives just around the corner from where it happened.

It was the second shooting involving young people. Just the day before, police arrested four other teenagers for the murder of an 18-year-old just a few miles away.

The recent violence has people like Marie afraid to go outside.

“I was so nervous,” said Marie. “My daughter was at work. I’m peeping out the window waiting for her to come home because I’m scared. I don’t know what could happen, you know?”

WECT reached out to Port City United about the recent shootings. New Hanover County created the department back in February to help implement community violence and intervention initiatives approved by commissioners.

“Port City United is actively working in the community with our mediation and outreach team to try and deescalate violence and respond to the shootings that have occurred over the past several days,” said a statement from the county. “Our team is also within our neighborhoods to support the shooting victims, their friends and families who have all been impacted.”

Marie says Wilmington isn’t the same city it was when she moved to the area 35 years ago. She described it then as being a friendly place to raise children. Now, things are different.

“I’m scared to sit on my porch. I’m scared to come outside.”

While Marie is fearful of what could happen in her neighborhood, others say they’ve come to expect it.

“I’m not surprised anywhere anymore,” said Randy Joye, who has lived in the northside area for about two decades. He doesn’t have much hope of things changing.

“You can talk to somebody and beg them, plead with them until you’re blue in the face,” said Joye. “If people have their mind made up, they’re going to do what they do.”

Marie is a bit more optimistic, saying there’s more she and her neighbors can do to curb the crime.

“Walking, patrolling, getting to know your neighbors, getting to know the people in the neighborhood, helping the kids,” she suggested.

Either way, both worry about who could be next.

“Try to protect yourself and keep your loved ones out of the way as much as you can,” said Joye.