Local News

Shooting Mars Peace of Family-Favorite Park

Posted April 26, 2007 8:05 p.m. EDT

— A shooting in a park across the street from Fayetteville State University worries some neighbors, who see it as a family place.

Children were playing basketball when gunshots rang out Wednesday evening. Gerard Garland, 25, was shot dead while standing in the parking lot of the Seabrook Recreation Center. Eddie Pew, 22, faces charges of second-degree murder and felony assault.

Police have said only that Garland and Pew got into a fight, not what it might have been about. They also said they do not get many calls about problems in the park next to the center.

"I never knew it was like this. I bring my kids here all the time. [It] kind of makes me nervous now," said Andrea Barker, who visits the park with her 6-month-old and 2-year-old sons.

Garland’s wife, Nicole, said Thursday that her husband had spent several years in prison, but was trying to chart a new course, get a job and to leave the streets.

"I tried to keep him focused, and he focused on my education and my work experience. Also, I served as an inspiration to him, and he did to me," Nicole Garland said.

She says she doesn't know why Gerard Garland was killed, and neighbors said that such violence just doesn't happen at the park.

"We go over and have picnics and have family outings over there, and it was just a sad incident that happened," Janice Howard said.

"I don't think that a tragedy should make the kids not be able to come back to a place like this,” Jeanne Perry said.