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.
"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:
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.