Local News

Rocky Mount searches for youth violence answers after five teens shot

Posted February 17, 2014
Updated February 18, 2014

— Hundreds gathered at Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount Monday night in search of answers.

They wanted to know why four teenagers were shot on the basketball court behind the church last month.

They wanted to know why youth violence is increasing in their community.

“We’re seeing some gang violence,” said James Gailliard, church pastor. “We’re seeing violence in general. We’re seeing a rise in guns being available in our streets.”

Community members gathered at the church for a panel discussion on ways to stop the violence. The talk comes after two incidents where five teenagers were shot.

Four people, all under 20 years old, were hit with bullets behind the church Jan. 28.

Nyreek Horne, 12, remains in critical condition at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. He was the youngest victim. The other victims were ages 13, 17 and 19.

Shyheim Collins, 17, was charged with four counts of attempted murder in the incident.

The shootings came less than two weeks after Brian Freeman, 15, was gunned down Jan. 18 while walking home with a friend on East Highland Avenue. The shots were fired from a passing car.

No arrests have been made in his killing.

The recent violence highlights issues bigger than personal disputes or access to guns, said Kenard Johnson, a classmate of Collins at Rocky Mount High School who believes he was framed.

“We’re around a lot of poverty where we live,” he said. “And it’s a lack of money in the homes and it’s a lack of fathers.”

Several potential answers were discussed, including improving the economy and lowering the unemployment rate as well as increasing parental involvement and hope among young people.

“We have to now come together as a community and really come up with some solutions where everybody is bringing a piece of the puzzle together,” Gailliard said.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 19, 2014

    They’re meeting in a church. The entire premise of this religion is that people should do what they say only out of fear of violence (in the afterlife). It’s the same as telling a child “Do this because I said so...or else.” Is that really a good example for thinking human beings?

    What is wrong with taking of advantage of what we humans do really well? Think.

    Some folks already teach their children to use their brain...to do the right thing because they have ethical standards and should care about others. THAT is the real answer here. THAT is the The Golden Rule in action.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 19, 2014

    1- Remove yourself & your family from fear-based child rearing. Stop hitting, spanking and threatening your child with violence and you will probably have a child who doesn’t use violence as a means to an end. Leave the violence to non-human animals. Teach them to use the thing that distinguishes us from every other species...their brain.

    2- There’s a known link between treating non-human animals violently and treating humans violently. You make a choice to increase or decrease the amount of violence in the world every time you sit down to eat. I mean, do you think your choices are without cost?

  • Mannin Black Feb 18, 2014
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    I blame Disney. There, I said it.

  • too-obvious Feb 18, 2014

    the last statement, getting parent involved rearing their children. that is the most positive step we can take.

  • Mannin Black Feb 18, 2014
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    There is no one to blame but yourself for your problems. This political blame game is gets us nowhere. Move on and be the change you want to be.

  • hppyhourhero Feb 18, 2014

    Paying attention would step number one....Look at the picture...How many people do you see staring down at their phones? How many of these people are texting?

  • Obamacare rises again Feb 18, 2014

    I could just as easily blame Bush and Reagan for making these people poor.....but go ahead and blame Obama again for it. Unbelievable.

  • Forthe Newssite Feb 18, 2014
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    You can look at the faces in the room and SEE that there are very FEW FATHERS there. Why is that? Could it be that the same # of fathers are NOT IN THE LIVES OF THEIR CHILDREN???? ya think that might just be part of the problem, that and other issues related to the family unit NOT poverty or the other things they would like to blame this on. I've known plenty of impoverished people in my life and they haven't resorted to violence.......

  • T-ONE Feb 18, 2014

    WRAL...has a tab called mugshots/wake arrest take a scroll over there and see who's committing crimes...it's not only blacks! Wonder if all of those other people are on welfare, fatherless or democrats? Pathetic!

  • Mannin Black Feb 18, 2014
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    How about ranked 42 in most dangerous in the US?