ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Community activists gathered in Elizabeth City on Saturday afternoon following a shooting that killed three people and wounded three others.
Allura Pledger was just 3-years-old when she was shot on Perry Street Thursday night along with her mother 39-year-old De’Shay Berry and 18-year-old Jaquan White. Police said that three others were also shot but are expected to live.
“In a little city like Elizabeth City, who would have thought? Little Miss Pledger,” said Pasquotank NAACP President Keith Rivers, recalling the youngest victim. “That could have been the next president of the United States or CEO of a corporation.”
Police on Friday sent out an update giving additional information on three other people who were injured in the incident. They include a 40-year-old man, a 29-year-old man, and a 20-year-old man. All are Elizabeth City residents. They were all taken to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center.
Two of the men, the 40 and 29-year-olds, were treated for injuries that weren’t life-threatening and later released.
The third, the 20-year-old, was treated and then taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. He was listed in stable condition as of Friday night.
“We’re getting ready to go into the holiday season and there’s gonna be some mothers and fathers and some aunts and uncles… this is their first Christmas without their child or without their grandchild,” added Rivers. “At that point, we knew something had to be done. The community realized that we have to come together to stop this gun violence in Pasquotank County and Elizabeth City.”
Rivers is a father himself. He said that they were leaving his daughter’s basketball game when they drove past Perry Street and saw first responders.
“We were coming around the curve and we saw the blue lights. My daughter said ‘I guess the police have somebody pulled over.'”
When they got home, he would learn the details about the deadly shooting.
Neighbors said they heard nearly 50 gunshots go off at the time of the shooting.
Now, just days later, he rallied his own troops to stop the violence in their community.
Rivers joined forces with Mothers Against Gun Violence and Power of Community to address the incident. They cited easier access to mental health resources and better youth programs as ways to decrease gun violence in the community.
“We need mental health access to resources such as mental health and other health care. We’re still dealing with the trauma of Andrew Brown,” explained Rivers. “Our community is in need of counseling. We need after-school programs, we need better employment for young people. When they graduate from high school, they need to make a livable wage, not minimum wage.”
Rivers said they’re working to organize a vigil for those involved. Family members have set up a GoFundMe to help with the funeral costs for De’Shay and Allura.