Gangs believed to be involved in shooting that killed teen attending funeral at NC church

North Carolina news

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — High Point police say a deadly shooting at a church is believed to be gang-related.

On Nov. 8, someone opened fire on worshippers during an outdoor funeral service. When the shooting was over, an 18-year-old was dead. A Davidson County sheriff’s deputy is now under investigation for allegedly firing the deadly shot.

Police say the funeral at Living Water Baptist Church was for a known gang member in the community.

“Kids want to be a part of something, you know no matter what it is, if it’s something good or bad, and a lot of time in your impoverished neighborhoods you got more bad than good,” said Will Pettiford with Voices of the Struggle.

Pettiford is part of Voices of the Struggle, a mentoring organization for young African American males specializing in gang prevention.

He says the older guys in gangs are recruiting the younger guys to do the dirty work. They target kids who feel they don’t have any other options. When that happens, Pettiford says kids start to only see the “now” and don’t think about life-changing repercussions down the road.

His strategy is to expose them to the truth and consequences.

“Show them how they are going to live, like when you are trying to go to the mall and just buy something to eat out with your momma, with your dad, and you got people shooting at you, is that the lifestyle you want to live?” said Pettiford.

Pettiford says they can show kids the way they need to go, but it’s up to them to decide which path they take.

“Don’t think now, don’t just think about the now, think about tomorrow because the mistake you might make today, man that might cost you the rest of your life,” said Pettiford.

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