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Friday April 23rd

Northern Orange County party barn shooting continues gun control debate

A circle of chairs surrounds firewood in the field by Smokehouse Valley Farm venue in Cedar Grove on Nov. 1, 2018.
Buy Photos A circle of chairs surrounds firewood in the field by Smokehouse Valley Farm venue in Cedar Grove on Nov. 1, 2018.

A shooting at a northern Orange County party barn last week left one dead and one injured, and people in the state are wondering if it is time to revisit gun control legislation.

The incident took place on Oct. 28 at a party barn off of Mill Creek Road in Cedar Grove where approximately 150 people were on site by the time police arrived on scene. The Orange County Sheriff's Office estimates there were 300 or more people in attendance before their arrival. 

According to a press release from the sheriff's office, an altercation between patrons at the barn led to several gunshots fired in the area. 

Rashiya Melton was shot in the head and airlifted to UNC Hospitals, where she was treated for life-threatening injuries. Melton died at UNC Hospitals the next day. 

A statement from the Orange County Sheriff's Office said these types of events create challenges for law enforcement to investigate them.

“By the time we’re called, everyone is gone, and the people who were there often don’t wish to cooperate or be identified, making it difficult, if not impossible, to gain accurate accounts of what happened from credible witnesses," Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in a press release.

Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, a volunteer organization that promotes individual liberty, said further restrictions to gun ownership would not prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

"It isn't the law-abiding gun owners that you have to worry about,” Valone said. 

He said this doesn't mean we shouldn't address gun-related crimes, but restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens isn't the right priority for policymakers. 

"If someone is going to be a law breaker, they are going to be a law breaker," Valone said.

Rebecca Ceartas, executive director at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, said that while gun ownership should not be totally restricted, certain regulatory laws are necessary.

“I do believe that enforcing our current laws and enacting needed new laws will make us safer," Ceartas said. "We don’t think that guns should be gotten rid of altogether, but we do believe people who should not have guns have no business either owning a gun or carrying a gun concealed.”

One suspect in the shooting, Xzavier D’Andre Gibson, was taken into custody on Oct. 30. Gibson was charged with one count of murder, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts of violation of probation. 

Takeem Haywood Norris Turrentine turned himself in the day after Gibson's arrest. Turrentine was charged with one count of murder, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of violation of probation.

“The death of this young lady is heartbreaking and completely senseless," Blackwood said in a press release. "I am proud of my Deputies’ continuing efforts to bring Rashiya’s killers into custody and to have done so with such speed.”

@ares_z19

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