‘Innocent people are suffering’: City, county leaders react to Wilmington mass shooting

North Carolina news

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The community continues to try and understand the mass shooting that took place early Saturday morning that injured four and left three dead.

As of right now, there is no word on a motive or any suspects in the shooting.

The Wilmington Police Department released a statement that said detectives are working “around the clock” in their investigation. Police added that because of the number of victims, this case “will take time and a significant amount of manpower to conduct a thorough investigation and bring justice to the victims and their families.”

Elected leaders for both Wilmington and New Hanover County are “shocked” and “saddened” by what happened over the weekend.

New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said he knew the 16-year-old victim, who is not identified publicly by police because of her age. Barfield believes she had a bright future.

“It’s just sad to see a beautiful young lady with great potential and, you know, a great outlook on life,” Commissioner Barfield said. “As I read some of her posts on Facebook, you know, saying she was so proud of herself for graduating early despite obstacles of graduating early — to see that pride in her, but now that life cut short by senseless gun violence.”

Wilmington City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark said the community has “grown way too used” to youth violence and that it must end.

“We’ve got to get these guns off the streets. These children have got to have a greater value on their life, their family,” Councilman Rivenbark said. “Some of these children need to be at home, instead of out at 12 o’clock at a party.”

Family, friends and loved ones have set up three memorials in Wilmington to honor the three victims who lost their lives. All the victims are under the age of 22.

They were gunned down when, according to investigators, a gunfight erupted during a house party early Saturday morning.

Both Barfield and Rivenbark stressed that young men and women need to understand there are other answers to a conflict that do not end in pulling the trigger.

“It definitely saddens me that our young people think there’s no alternative than to shoot,” Barfield said. “You know growing up here, you got into a fistfight — that was about it in our community and trying to provide outlets for our youth here whether its programs with Cape Fear Community College, the Voyage Youth Council, different initiatives that can give these young boys and girls different outlets and different alternatives.”

As parents, both leaders cannot imagine the grief and pain that the families of the victims are feeling.

“I cannot imagine losing a child, as a parent, and the grief that goes with that to me it’s just senseless.”

“Innocent people are suffering,” Rivenbark said. “Neighborhoods are suffering and we’ve just got to sit down at a big table and talk and get these things out and council is ready to do anything.”

We reached out to Mayor Bill Saffo who has not responded to our request for an interview.

Police Chief Donny Williams has also decided not to offer any further interviews or a press conference on the shooting until more information becomes available.

If you have any information, police ask that you contact the Wilmington Police Department at (910)-343-3609 or use the Wilmington, NC PD app. You can also text an anonymous tip to 847411 (tip411) by including the keyword WPDNC.

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