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Patriot Guard Riders escort body of slain airman

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Patriot Guard Riders escort the body to RDU.

Friday morning, Patriot Guard Riders escorted the body of Senior Airman Ryan Morgan from Goldsboro to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

"He served his country. He's a brother. It was the right thing to do," said Charles Bullock with the Patriot Guard Riders.

The group said Morgan's body was being flown home to Alabama. The 32-year-old was shot and killed in Goldsboro around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, July 31 in the 100 block of North Center Street. The investigation of his death continues.

Ryan Apollo Morgan, 32

Morgan had been stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base since 2013 working as a contract specialist. Those who knew him say he also served as a Marine and did three tours in Iraq.

Morgan's death is one of five recent unsolved murders in Goldsboro. City leaders addressed that at a news conference Friday. They said the community has come together to put up a $5,000 reward for information.

Police Chief Michael West said people may know things that they think aren't relevant, but could still help.

"Even if they don't think it's important information," he explained. "We would love to know about it."

While overall violent crime is down, Goldsboro's homicide rate year-over-year is up 14 percent. In 2015, the city had seven murders by August 5. This year, it's eight.

"I honestly feel like the last two were people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Chief West. "Which makes it all the more tragic."

In addition to offering a reward, West said his department is working to reduce violent crime with a new gang initiative. Police are reaching out to schools with mentoring programs and other ways to divert kids from gangs before they even get involved.

Anyone with information about Morgan's death or any of the recent homicides is asked to call the Goldsboro Police Department or Goldsboro-Wayne Crime Stoppers at (919) 735-2255. You may also text Crime Stoppers at (919) 222-4230.

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