By WECT Staff | April 3, 2021 at 8:15 PM EDT – Updated April 4 at 8:47 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Three people are dead and four others injured in a mass shooting early Saturday morning.
Wilmington Police responded to calls of shots fired on Kidder St. between 7th and 8th streets just after midnight. They arrived and discovered that a gunfight had erupted inside the home during a party, according to police.
Neighbors, officials react to overnight shooting in Wilmington
Kim Eason lives a few doors down from where the shooting took place. She said that around midnight she saw a group of ten people gathered on the corner of 8th and Kidder Streets. She first thought it was a home invasion until she heard gunshots.
“I heard gunshots and it was like they were never going to stop it just kept on,” Eason said. “Then it was like a split second—it’s like they reloaded— and then you know what I’m saying started shooting again.”
Eason said she feared for her own family’s life.
“I feared for my life and I got my granddaughter and I put her in the bathroom, I put her in the bathtub,” Eason said. “The bullets now—they will penetrate through the walls and that’s all I could think about.”
Crime scene investigators recovered several firearms at the scene, according to police. There is no word as to what led up to the shooting and Wilmington police said detectives are actively investigating all leads.
Wilmington City Council Member Kevin Spears said there are multiple unseen issues surrounding this tragic event.
“For one, we don’t know all of the facts. We don’t know what led up to the event of Saturday morning,” Spears said. “But also just the access. So many young people with access to guns—illegal guns, that’s the bigger issue.”
New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said in his more than two decades as a prosecutor, the overnight shooting on Kidder Street was one of the worst crimes he has even seen.
“I can’t imagine the loss and suffering that these families are experiencing now,” David said. “And the grief that all of us feel needs to be met with that same commitment to doing justice for the victims in this case.”
Police have released the names of the victims. 22-year-old Zieyah Wade, 21-year old Shamir Jones, and a 16-year-old female (who’s name is being withheld due to her age) were killed. Keyshawn James (21), Zykeria Crawford (19), Valery Orelus (18), and Zymiryon Atkins (18), were injured during the incident but survived. They are being treated at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
Spears knew several of the victims and was shocked to hear the news of the shooting Saturday morning.
“These are our children. Raised in our community. I’ve watched them grow and I’ve coached some of them,” Spears said. “Just watching them grow over the past 20 or so odd years and it does something to you when you see this take place, when you see children leave this earth so soon.”
Eason said she spoke with some of the families at the scene early this morning. One parent said they had no idea their child was even at the party, according to Eason.
“That’s all I could really think about was these parents losing a child,” Eason said. “They’re thinking they’re somewhere safe at a friend’s house or a girlfriend’s house, but no they’re at a party.”
City Council Member Clifford Barnett said he, like many others, was depressed and saddened to hear the news of this mass shooting.
“We as this community must continue to work hard to improve gun legislation,” Barnett said. “We must provide opportunities for all of our citizens to get the help that they need.”
Spears believes that what took place early Saturday morning could have been prevented.
“There was a series of events which probably could have thwarted the actions that took place and somewhere along the lines somebody dropped the ball,” he said.
If you have any information, police ask that you contact the Wilmington Police Department at (910)-343-3609 or use the Wilmington, NC PD app. You can also text an anonymous tip to 847411 (tip411) by including the keyword WPDNC.
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