Rash of teens being shot has local gun violence activists pushing harder than ever for a solution

Michael Perchick Image
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

Gun violence activists are reacting after a third teenager younger than 18 was shot and killed in the Triangle over the past month.

ERWIN, N.C. (WTVD) -- Gun violence activists are reacting after a third teenager younger than 18 was shot and killed in the Triangle over the past month.

The most recent incident happened in Erwin on Tuesday night, where police responded to a shooting on West M Street and North 14 Street. There they found a 16-year-old who had been shot; he later died from his injuries at the hospital. The victim's name has not been released. Police do not believe the shooting was random, but they have not made an arrest in the case.

Over the weekend, Southern Pines Police reported 17-year-old DeMarcus Chambliss of Fayetteville was shot and killed at a Mobil Mart. At this time, investigators believe the suspect was an acquaintance of Chambliss.

Last month, two Orange County teens, 14-year old Lyric Woods and 18-year old Devin Clark, were killed in a shooting; authorities arrested a 17-year-old in connection to that case.

"We've got to find these outlets to be able to teach the younger generation to be able to think before reacting. Every situation doesn't require a reaction, and it doesn't make you less of a man, less of a young lady. But you have to think, because you're impacting yourself and those around you in your circles," said Mario Black, an advocate who helped start the Million Youth March of Charlotte and Salisbury.

Black began his work in 2013; years later, he was personally impacted by gun violence.

"My family was hit with the sudden, tragic death of my younger cousin, Daquan Shannon," Black said.

Shannon, a 17-year-old high school senior, was shot and killed outside a convenience store in Charlotte in 2018. Today, Black, a middle school teacher, supports recreational outlets for youth.

"Our students become our children. So those kids have passed not only are their personal families affected, but their peers are impacted by it, and their schools that they attend, their teachers, are all impacted by it," said Black.

Becky Ceartas with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence Action Fund supports taking a holistic approach to combatting gun violence.

"Really changing those cultural norms around guns in a community are incredibly important. And connecting people with those social services, and adequately funding those social services," said Ceartas.

Those efforts include enhancing housing stability to educational and job opportunities. She further urges gun owners, especially parents, to act responsibly.

"Something very simple, such as locking up a firearm. Making sure it's locked, unloaded, and the ammunition stored separately. This very simple action can save lives. Because whenever people underage are getting guns, we have to ask - where are they getting them from," said Ceartas.

The I-Team has compiled figures from several law enforcement agencies in the Triangle regarding deadly shootings involving teenage victims between 2018-2022:

  • Raleigh Police Department reported 13 incidents, with six of those including victims 13 to 17 years old.
  • Hillsborough Police Department reported two incidents, one involving a 19-year-old, the other a 17-year-old.
  • Chapel Hill Police Department reported one incident, a 19-year-old in August.
  • Carrboro Police Department reported one incident, involving a 19-year-old in October 2021.
  • Alamance County Sheriff's Office had incident, an 18-year-old killed in 2021.
  • Durham Police Department reported 39 incidents with victims 13-20 years old, though did not have an exact age breakdown.
  • Chatham County Sheriff's Office shared one incident of a victim 13-20 years old since 2018.
  • Durham County Sheriff's Office reported no such incidents.

An annual breakdown showed a slight year-over-year increase in victims in this age group in Raleigh. There were two such cases in 2018, three each in 2019 and 2020, five in 2021, and five thus far in 2022.

The advocacy organization Everytown, citing CDC data, reported there were an average of 100 children and teens killed by guns each year in North Carolina.

Of that group, 57% were homicides, a figure close to the national average of 58%. Breaking down the numbers, they found Black children and teens in the state were three times more likely as white peers to die by guns.