ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Next week, the two men charged in connection with a deadly triple shooting in Elizabeth City will be back in court. 

One of the accused men, Ricky Etheridge Jr., will face the death penalty if convicted.

Now, for the first time, the father of the 3-year-old killed in that shooting is talking exclusively with WAVY-TV

Von Pledger, whose girlfriend De-Shay Barry was also killed in the shooting, gets emotional when he recalls the moment he learned that he would never see his daughter ever again. 

“They told me the car was shot up, and they told me how the car looked and so then I heard three people were killed,” he said. “Then I got another call that my daughter was fighting for her life. And I’m thinking she’s gonna pull through.”

Then he got the call that she had died.

But wasn’t just his daughter. Her mother, and Pledger’s girlfriend, 39-year-old De-Shay Berry, was also shot and killed.

The shooting happened around 5 p.m. on December 2 near the intersection of Jordan Street and Perry Street in Elizabeth City. Officers responded to a report of gunshots and arrived to find “several” people with gunshot wounds.

Three people died from their injuries, including:

  • Jaquan White (male), of Elizabeth City, age 18
  • De‘Shay Berry (female), of Manteo, age 39
  • Allura Pledger (female), of Manteo, age 3

Three other people were injured and hospitalized.

When asked how’s he’s been adjusting without them Pledger says – he hasn’t. 

“I haven’t been adjusting I really don’t know how to go forward right now,” he said. 

Prosecutors, however, know how they want to move forward: with the maximum punishment.  

Etheridge and Terrence Seymore are both charged with three counts of murder. Etheridge is facing the death penalty if convicted. 

“It doesn’t make me feel any better,” Pledger said. “I want justice for both of them, whatever that might be. Him getting the death penalty is not going to bring them back, ya know?”

No matter the outcome of the trial, Pledger says he’s the one in for a lifetime of punishment because he’s not going to see his youngest daughter grow up. 

“I was going to put her in karate,” he added. “She loved to dance. I knew she was going to have a beautiful voice, cause most of the people in my family can sing.”

Pledger says his story should serve as a warning to people who think they can’t be affected by gun violence. Anyone, he says, could lose their loved ones in the blink of an eye. 

“They were just wonderful people,” he said. “They made an impact wherever they went.”

Etheridge’s attorney said next week’s court appearance is a hearing to try to line up experts for the trial, which he expects won’t start until at least next year.