Local News

Police ID teens suspected of firing BBs at church van

Posted March 29, 2011 10:26 a.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2011 11:20 a.m. EDT

— Police said late Monday that they have identified six or seven teens they believe used a pellet gun to shoot at a van carrying students to a church after-school program last week.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, dozens of underprivileged students go to Avent Ferry United Methodist Church, at 2700 Avent Ferry Road, for a free meal and some help with their school work.

Both days last week, some teens rode their bicycles alongside the church van as it picked the children up for the program and began firing pellet guns at the vehicle, church member Wendell Gilliam said.

Gilliam said some students were so frightened that they didn't attend Thursday afternoon's session, and others were afraid to go home that night.

Church members expressed frustration by what they saw as a slow response to the situation by Raleigh police, so the two sides met Monday to discuss the matter.

Police said the suspects in the case live in or near the Parkwood Village community, but they are not a gang, according to Benson Kirkman, a former Raleigh City Council member who represented the church at the meeting. Still, the Raleigh Police Department plans to use its gang intervention unit to prevent the group from forming a gang, he said.

No juvenile charges have been filed against the teens, but they might be required to participate in mentoring and gang-prevention activities to resolve their cases, Kirkman said.