Monday evening at 8 p.m., Fayetteville Police responded to the convenience store after receiving a report of gunshots.
Fayetteville PD investigators are spending the day going over evidence and asking questions after 15-yr-old “Zay” Thornton was shot and killed in front of this mini mart last night. pic.twitter.com/SaVVtHoKye— DeJuan Hoggard (@DeJuanABC11) November 30, 2021
When they arrived, they found a 15-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family identified him as Xae'vion Thornton, a sophomore student at nearby Westover High School.
"He was a good kid," said Sincere McPhaul, who works at a business near the mini mart. "Always smiling and stuff."
As police were investigating this incident, they received word from staff at Cape Fear Valley Hospital of another person shot who they believe was connected to the mini mart shooting.
"It's worldwide, man! The youth--the killing," said McPhaul. "As an older Black male trying to talk to my community; the young Black males we try and talk to them. Help them stay right and focused."
Just last week, Fayetteville city leaders announced $850,000 would go toward crime prevention strategies. Additionally, the city's police department announced two contract positions whose goal would include analyzing crime data.
There is a security camera above the mini mart that would have provided police with missing links. However, the camera is currently inoperable.
"I just send my condolences to the family," said McPhaul.
Thornton's mother and family members visited the memorial site this afternoon.
"My son was a jokester. He loved to make everybody laugh," Thornton's mother said. "It didn't matter if you were having a good day or a bad day. He would try to make you laugh."
She said her son always made it a point to say "I love you" whenever he left his family.
"He said it to me before he left," sobbed Thornton's brother.
Anyone with information regarding this homicide investigation is asked to contact Detective J. Arnold at (910) 824-9539 or Crimestoppers at (910) 483-TIPS (8477).