WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington teen is dead, and police are still searching for suspects after a shooting last night near downtown.
Neighbors and family members are mourning the loss of Tony Harris Jr., who was affectionately known as T.J. He was shot near the corner of 5th and Harnett.
A woman who lives at 916 1/2 North 5th Avenue called 911 after finding the 16-year-old.
“I have a young black male that just got shot. He’s on my porch,” the woman tells the dispatcher.
Wilmington Police say Harris was shot twice and pronounced dead at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
Harris’s cousin Demaurios Brunson lives down the street. He says he knows how easy it is for young people to wind up with the wrong crowd.
“I came out of what T.J. Just passed away from,” Brunson said. “I came out of that. I don’t like seeing this. So if anybody feels what I’m saying, we need to step up and be an example for the youth.”
Neighbor Randy Tupper said he has watched his neighborhood go downhill.
“Ever since I’ve lived here it’s been a good neighborhood up until the past month,” Tupper said. “There’s been a lot of different riff-raff kind of people hanging out doing nothing but just hanging out.”
Brunson said he does not know if T.J.’s death was gang-related, but he does know that gangs only lead to death or jail. He says the violence has to stop. He feels called to help turn his community around, and he says his cousin’s death is even more motivation.
“If you don’t want to be in a gang, and if you know that there’s something else that you want out of this world, go get it, and leave these people behind,” Brunson said. “Don’t look back, you know what I mean? Don’t look back.”
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Wilmington Police Department at (910) 343-3600. You can anonymously Text-a-Tip. Enter TIP708 and the information, and send to CRIMES 274637.