Local News

Gunplay Kills Teen; Friend Charged

Posted March 29, 2007

— A 16-year-old girl was killed Wednesday night after she and a friend were playing with a stolen gun and the weapon discharged, authorities said.

Jerticha Ford and friend were sitting in a car near her house at about 7 p.m. Wednesday and were playing with a 9mm handgun the friend had stolen when the gun went off, authorities said.

Ford was shot once in the side and died later of her injuries, authorities said.

"I was asleep, and everybody came running in the house, saying she got shot, and I ran outside," Ford's twin sister, Yolanda Ford, said before breaking down in tears.

Jamel Gates, 17, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the case.

"He was horseplaying around with the weapon, and the gun went off," Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said. "The investigation is showing that he did not intentionally point the gun, but the gun went off and shot the victim."

Peterkin said he doesn't know who the gun belongs to or how long the teen had it. Investigators found it inside a cinderblock after the shooting. An investigation is underway to find the gun's owner, and that person could face charges, he said.

As Ford's family mourned her death, they also pleaded with people to be careful with guns.

"Guns are nothing to play with. They're not to be used as a toy," said Ford's uncle, Ronnie Ford. "My niece was a positive person. She had great potential. She had a love for life. She had respect for her friends and family."

Second slaying under investigation

Ford's death was one of two slayings in Hoke County Wednesday night.

Investigators said somebody fired more than 15 shots at a car driver by Michael Freeman of Raeford. He drove more than a half-mile before crashing into tree and dying.

Authorities have no suspects in Freeman's shooting.


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  • CauseNFx Mar 31, 2007

    of any loaded deadly weapon, moreless possess on your person, with the same regard you would give your house keys, or pack of gum, while you go to visit friends. His life is ruined as well...by his own hand. No action is without consequence. And Sheriff Peterkin, the law is very clear, in these cases...or maybe thats just true in "my world", where I cohabitate with the rest of the world; but I am interested in seeing the statutes that states a person who gets their gun stolen, probably unbeknowest to them, can be held criminally responsible for the crimes, felony or otherwise, he may commit with this weapon; and hold parents responsible for such a serious crime their children may commit. Since the so-called "law" allowed for children to dial Child Protective agencies or police stations as soon as you breathe on them hard, discipline has literally become a crime. Good parents are left with little to no other resources to insure that their children, who now govern themselves, won't brea

  • CauseNFx Mar 31, 2007

    How was it that this crime was so quickly determined to be an accident?...because the perpetrator, who shot and killed a human being, hid the gun, and ran because he was "scared" said so?...or maybe the friends who witnessed their wreckless friend casually, no, callously "playing" with a loaded firearm said so?...or perhaps, the able bodied, if not able-minded suits in Hoke County Sheriff's office said so? Now we see how "accident" is such a nice convenience for all involved..with the exception, of course, of a young 16 year old girl, whose life was so "inconveniently" taken from her; and with exception, of course, to her parents, her siblings, who I'm certain find nothing convenient in how their lives have been tragically, and forever altered on all kinds of levels, by no fault of their own, because of this "accident". This young man is very misplaced, but nonetheless accountable...he hid the gun and ran because he was "scared"? He should've been "scared" to be in the near vincinity

  • kelleyv Mar 30, 2007

    I have to agree with me-in-raeford. What is going on?

  • Notebender1970 Mar 30, 2007

    Ok after this many comments I have to say something. First off Guns don't go off by themselves. Since the story only said that it was a 9mm then I'm assuming that it was an automatic, therefore the slide had to be pulled back and a round chambered. Depending on the make/model there could be a safety or could not. Simple fact remains that a round got chambered and they all knew the weapon was "Live" at that time. I value greatly my second ammendment right to own firearms, but I also take that ownership with great responsibilty. The media is jumping on this with a vengence for the simple fact that they have an agenda and they paint the story in a light to support that agenda. Let's think about this long and hard people, God gave us brains in our heads for a reason....USE THEM

  • me-in-raeford Mar 30, 2007

    It's very sad this young woman lost her life...first and foremost my thoughts are with her family...

    having said that...I'm wondering how it can be "involuntary manslaughter" if it was a "stolen" weapon...someone check the statutes but if someone is killed during the commission of a crime "ie, possession of a stolen weapon"...is that not at a minimum charge as 2nd degree murder???

    ALSO, if Sheriff Peterkin doesn't know who owns the gun...how does he know it was "stolen"...I'm really lost on that one...ALTHOUGH I have to admit to being even more lost on the idea that Sheriff Peterkin is somehow going to hold the "owner" of the "stolen" gun responsible for the "crime" committed by the "thief"...

  • 68_polara Mar 30, 2007

    People are not accidentally shot. He needs to be held accountable. And if he didn't steal the gun he had received stolen property. Again, he needs to be held responsible for his actions.

  • E-Diva Mar 30, 2007

    Just because the gun was stolen doesn't mean he stole it. And if you are 17 (especially male and black) and you just accidentally shot someone, I can see how your first reaction would be to hide it.

  • ctechic2004 Mar 30, 2007

    Virgomisty22-Why should the parents be locked up? And to all who thinks he should be charged with 1st degree murder, do you know whether it was done willfully and was it premeditated. Obviously they(police) feel that it was unintentionally and it was reckless. Accidents do happen. And until you know the whole story, stop making judgments.

  • things happen Mar 30, 2007

    To everyone that is been reading on this story. I no this family and I meeet the twin girls when i work for one of there family memebers and the twin girls would all ways come over and get my kids to let them play with there sister kids. But what im trying to say is that they where loving kids and not only that my parents use to keep the guy that shot her and he had some hard times in his life and im not give him any credit for anything cause he did do a serious crime but not intentionaly. we as so quick to point a finger, unit one day it could happen to us and then you will see how it is to be called a low-life. God didn't make no junk and no one is a low-life. we all have done some bad and good in our life time, no everyone haven't killed some one but a SIN IS A SIN(READ THE WORD)My prayers are with the family.

  • Politically Honest NOT PC Mar 30, 2007

    How in the world can they EVEN think of charging the owner if it was stolen from their secured home?????. Also how can it be INVOLUNTARY manslughter. I mean just look where the gun was found after the shooting. HIDDEN in a cinder block!!! Let's get real here. If you steal a weapon, you obviously plan to use it to harm or kill someone therefore FIRST DEGREE MURDER. should be the charge!!!