On Monday, a 15-year-old (whose name has not been released because of his age) and his 18-year-old accomplice Ta’Von McLaurin sat outside Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville NC and shot, fellow classmate, 15-year-old Catilyn Abercrombie in the neck with a .22 Daisy rifle.
Abercrombie underwent surgery at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center late Monday night to remove a bullet from her neck and was considered to be in “stable” condition following the procedure.
However, yesterday doctors downgraded her status to “critical” and placed her on a ventilator to aid her with her breathing, according to Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
According to reports, Abercrombie was standing in a breezeway outside the school cafeteria when the suspects opened fire.
Like all random acts of violence this incident raises many questions. Atop that list is, why her? What was their motive?
Cumberland County Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler told local reporters that Abercrombie was probably not the intended target and that no motive had been established.
“Why did they shoot? I don’t know,” he said.
Some residents believe that the shooting could be gang related. Cumberland county resident Mark Butsch, whose children attend Cape Fear High School, told reporters, “It’s been building up to this for a while. My kids have come home and told me about it where there’s been gang fights, flashing gang signs, calling each other out at school.”
Butsch added, “I think that girl was an innocent bystander.”
But Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till disagreed with the notion that it was gang related.
“Are there some students who belong to gangs? Probably, there are some,” he said. “Are they keeping their activity off campus? I believe they’re probably keeping their activity off campus in general.”
Investigators also claimed that there is little or no evidence to suggest the shooting was gang related.
“As of right now, we don’t have any reason to believe there was gang activity in the school that would have led to the shooting that happened,” Tanna said.
As investigators continue to search for answers, the two suspects are being held in custody.
McLaurin is being held in Cumberland County Detention Center under a $280,000 secured bond. He is charged with felonious aiding and abetting.
The 15-year-old shooter is being held at the Cumberland County Juvenile Detention Center. He is being charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. As of right now, it is unclear whether he will be tried as an adult.