Local News

Witness Recalls Harrowing Day-Care Shooting

Posted August 19, 2004

— Investigators say a man upset with the mother of his child shot her in the leg Wednesday while she held the infant.

It happened at a busy day-care center in Halifax County. Employee Katrina Moore witnessed the whole thing.

The suspect, Bruce Jarrett, showed up at Weldon Day Care and began arguing with his girlfriend, Ebony Lane.

"I looked at him because he was standing at the front doorway in the entrance, and he lifted up his shirt, and he pulled out a gun," Moore said.

Moore, a teacher at the center, said Jarrett chased Lane through the halls of the building with a sawed-off shotgun. Moore ran after them.

"My concern was yelling to the teachers to get the kids," Moore said. "But at the same time, I was trying to get to her (Lane) and her baby."

About 100 children were there when it happened. Moore said she followed as Lane ran past the nursery and back into the parking lot.

"At that point, he shot her, and she hit the ground," Moore said.

Lane still was holding the couple's 6-month-old son.

Right after the shooting, according to investigators, Jarrett took off down the road on foot. Deputies caught up with him a few blocks away and arrested him without a fight.

Lane went to an area hospital with serious injuries to her leg. Her son was fine.

"It was pretty scary," said the Rev. Ralph Dailey, owner of the day care. "But, yet, we were blessed, and we feel that the Lord looked after us and protected us."

Many parents, like Oneisha Fields, believe their children still are safe at the center. Parents dropped off their children at the center as usual Thursday morning.

"I think it was an unfortunate incident," Fields said. "But I know safety comes first at Weldon Day Care."

The staff said most of the children never knew they were in danger.

Lane's family said she was in serious condition at Pitt Memorial Hospital. Doctors said she will need more surgery on her leg.

Jarrett, meanwhile, faces a list of charges: assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, going armed to the terror of the people and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

He has a first court appearance Sept. 8.

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