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Suspected Gunman, Girlfriend Arrested After Wesleyan College Altercation

Posted March 28, 2008

— A man accused of carrying a loaded gun onto the N.C. Wesleyan College campus and firing shots nearby was arrested Thursday evening.

Vertron Dickens, 22, was charged with discharging a firearm within the city limits and possessing a weapon on campus.

Dickens' girlfriend, Wesleyan student Joy Anthony, was also charged with inciting a riot and obstruction. Police say Anthony, 18, called Dickens after she allegedly was harassed by a group of students outside a tattoo parlor Wednesday afternoon.

Rocky Mount police said they received a call at 5:23 p.m. Wednesday about an argument in a parking lot near the Wesleyan campus. About an hour later, someone on campus reported hearing a gunshot.

Police said that gunshot came from a weapon fired by Dickens. After hearing about the altercation with his girlfriend, he wielded a weapon and fired at least one shot in a Food Lion parking lot about 100 yards from the campus, police said.

The owner of Ink Sinkers Hall Tattoo Shop on Stone Rose Drive, near U.S. 301, said he witnessed the gunfire.

“I was working at the computer and heard what sounded like a firecracker. I looked up and saw a man with his hand out a window pulling the trigger twice on a pistol," Brian Warwick said.

Police said they found no evidence of or witnesses to the incident Wednesday.

A student reportedly came forward Thursday, identifying Anthony as the student involved in the incident.

The school was never on lockdown and students were not notified because school officials were unaware of the incident until Thursday morning.

Late Thursday evening, however, the college issued a statement acknowledging the altercation.

"Although the security and safety of our campus was maintained throughout these incidents, it is incumbent on the college to deal forcefully with those who fail to recognize their obligations to live peaceably in an academic environment," Wesleyan College President Dr. Ian Newbould said in the statement.

The news of the gunshot spread quickly across campus Thursday. Extra security measures put some students on edge.

“A little bit, but not too bad considering it didn't happen on campus,” Wesleyan student James Vincent said when asked if he was upset.

The college is trying to determine which students, other than Anthony, were involved in the incident.

Anthony posted bond and was out of jail. Her first court appearance was scheduled for May 1.

Dickens was held in the Rocky Mount Jail Thursday. He posted $2,000 bond early Friday was released from jail. His first court appearance was scheduled for March 28.


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  • Angel in disgusie Mar 31, 2008

    No big surprise here....Rocky Mount is definitely the city on the rise....crime and drugs for sure.
    And trust me, these people involved do not help the "issues" that are being played up in the Democratic nominations...just reenforcing what is obvious!

  • wakemom Mar 28, 2008

    we cant keep blaming parents for kids actions especially when they get of a certain age. i mean you want to know about the upbrining of kids. one of the kids is in college. evidently something was done right in the home for the child to go to college. this sounds like a bonnie and clyde story. the crazy things people do for love. smh....

  • angora2 Mar 28, 2008

    This won't bring Wesleyan good students in the future. It's a private school and parents expect expect their little snowflakes to be surrounded by sane kids.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Mar 28, 2008

    These young people must love prison. This is all you see every time you see or read the news. They are doing everything they can to get there. Meanwhile, what kind of parents and grandparents do they have? Someone is responsible for their good raising. Its a sad situation that they have to learn the hard way. You do wrong and you face the consequences.

  • wakemom Mar 28, 2008

    lilwil, and i agree!

  • wakemom Mar 28, 2008

    Say what? thug mentality at ncwc?

  • ncsuspam Mar 28, 2008

    $2000 bail for FIRING a lethal weapon in a threatening manner? They just let this gun wielding guy go free? That is assanine.

  • hkypky Mar 28, 2008

    And moving on to the real problem .... will he get his gun back? Probably. Will he ever be able to legally own a firearm again? Probably. Will he get a slap on the wrist (small fine and a couple of weeks or a month in jail? Probably.

  • lilwil Mar 28, 2008

    If she felt so threatened, she should have called the police. Glad know one was seriously wounded or killed.

    People just don't stop and think before acting.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Mar 28, 2008

    How stupid.