Henderson, N.C. — A recent run of crime in normally quiet Henderson has residents on alert and worried about what it means.
Police gathered Friday evening on Davis Street to continue the investigation of the Thursday shooting of a teenager.
Ja'Quon Seward was found, shot and dying, near the intersection of Davis and Nicholas streets. One man, Daquan Ortiz, 20, is facing a voluntary manslaughter charge in connection with that shooting.
“It’s been a bad week. There’s no doubt about it,” City Manager Ray Griffin said.
On Valentine’s Day, two women were carjacked and raped at gunpoint in the latest in a series of carjackings. Police said four vehicles have been stolen at gunpoint since Jan. 24.
On Feb. 16, police officers were called to a room at the Scottish Inn motel, where a man and woman shot were shot to death overnight.
“We’re family here, and all of us really need to stick together,” longtime resident Bryan Hargrove said Friday. “There’s a whole lot going on that really doesn’t need to be going on.”
Lately, Hargrove says, that sense of security that goes hand-in-hand with being home hasn't been there.
Griffin said city officials have heard from a number of concerned citizens, and he is worried about rumors and misinformation that are spreading through social media.
“I think a lot of that is happening as people talk about this,” Griffin said. “I had an individual say to me just yesterday, ‘Well, there was a rape at such-and-such business yesterday,’ and there was no such thing.”
The city manager is encouraging anyone with questions to call officials or police directly.
Residents, business owners, church leaders, law enforcement and others are also invited to attend a community meeting Feb. 26 hosted by the Vance County Board of Education and Community and Business Relations Committee. The purpose is “to discuss community safety and safety of/protection of all youth,” according to a flier for the meeting.
Hargrove said he plans to be there.
“You know, it has everybody on edge,” he said. “Everybody is really scared.”
Hargrove is no stranger to gun violence. More than four years ago, he was shot after he stopped some teens from getting into a fight. He said young people must get the message that violence is unacceptable.
He hopes residents bring productive ideas to the meeting.
“It’s really to get to root of it and stop it for future generations,” he said.