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One Teen Dead, Another Filled With Regret

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DURHAM — June 4, 1996 - 6 p.m. EDT

From the time they were in grade school together, Corey Juan Pettiford (standing, right in photo at left) and Richard Lamont Rankin (kneeling in photo at left) were inseparable. But, early Sunday morning, their long friendship came to a tragic end.

The boys, both 18, had spent most of the day at a cookout. After dark, Rankin was apparently trying to get Pettiford's attention outside the latter's bedroom window.

Barbara Pettiford, Corey's mother, says he must have thought someone was breaking in.

Barbara Pettiford immediately called 9-1-1 to report a possible intruder. She and her son never realized that the man outside was Pettiford's best friend. One bullet struck Rankin in the shoulder. He struggled across the street and died where he fell.

Rankin's aunt, Relva Johnson, says her nephew had plans to graduate from high school and attend culinary school. Now, instead of graduation, his family is planning a funeral.

Johnson says she holds no animosity toward the man who shot her nephew.

Barbara Pettiford talked to WRAL-TV5'sKelly Wrightabout all the shooting and the aftermath.

Adding to the tragedy, neighbors didn't discover Lamont Rankin's body until three hours after the shooting, and police are investigating charges of slow response to the 9-1-1 call.

No charges have been filed against Corey Juan Pettiford.