Car crashes into pool after shooting at vigil for Fayetteville gun violence victim

Monique John Image
Friday, August 4, 2023
Car crashes into pool following shooting in Fayetteville
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Cleanup is underway in Fayetteville after a shooting resulted in a car crashing into a pool by the Smith Recreation Center.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cleanup is underway in Fayetteville after a shooting resulted in a car crashing into a pool by the Smith Recreation Center.

Fayetteville Police said one person was injured in the incident, which happened around 8 p.m. following a vigil at a nearby park for Lorenzo McLaughlin Jr.. McLaughlin, 22, was shot and killed July 29 after a social media dispute between himself and two brothers, Devonte and Adrian McClain.

More than 150 people were at the vigil for McLaughlin, according to Roderick Brown, who is a therapist for the Smith Recreation Center and was a mentor to McLaughlin.

When the vigil ended, an altercation broke out in the parking lot and shots were fired. One of the shots hit a man driving a Kia Optima. Police said surveillance video shows the Kia speed out of the parking lot before crashing through a fence and into the community pool at Seabrook Park. The driver then staggers out of the car, climbs out of the pool, and stumbles into the road where first responders find him.

The man was life-flighted to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill in critical condition. Investigators said Thursday he remained in the hospital but his condition had improved.

"People are not just fighting anymore. They're actually shooting people. The access to guns is way more accessible than it was in the past. So I think we need to start looking at legislation and guns and these kids having access to guns as the start of the problem," Brown said.

Police have not made any arrests in the case. However, officers searched two cars believed to be involved that were found in the Lake in the Pines apartment complex later the same evening.

The ongoing investigation has revealed this was not a random act of violence, police said.

"We are experiencing a cycle of violence that our community has the power to stop," Police Chief Kem Braden said. "It will take the cooperation of our community to help solve this crime and prevent further acts of violence."

Based on the initial investigation, there were multiple witnesses who may have vital information.

Fayetteville Police said they believe there are multiple witnesses who may have key information about the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective D. O'Hara at (910) 303-4220. To report tips anonymously, you can contact Crime Stoppers at (910) 483-8477. Crimestoppers information can also be submitted electronically.