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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The community is in shock after a Cape Fear Community College student was shot and killed leaving work last night in downtown Wilmington.

At this point, police say details surrounding the murder are cloudy.

Around 11 p.m. Thursday police say Josh Proutey had just finished work and was heading home. A short time later he was found dead in a parking lot next to the Community Arts Center near 2nd and Orange Streets.

“He was just downtown working and apparently at the wrong place at the wrong time,” WPD spokesman Det. Kevin Smith said.

Those who knew Proutey, who was from Clayton, described him as a typical 19-year-old who worked hard and loved his family.

Proutey was leaving the Community Arts Center after work.

Folks who worked with him on the show can’t believe what happened.

“It’s shocking, and it’s just a tough situation for us here,” coworker Jason Aycock said. “He was always a hard worker and dedicated to doing what he thought needed to be done, and he was always helping facilitate and make sure everything went off without a hitch.”

Though police say this appears to be a random act of violence that claimed Proutey’s life, they are still urging everyone to be cautious downtown as the investigation into the murder continues.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Wilmington Police Department at (910) 343-3600, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 531-9845. Information also may be submitted anonymously through Text-A-Tip. Enter Tip708 and the message; send to CRIMES (274637).

Comment on this Story

  • arthur

    Can we please have an update from the police on this horrible crime? Both parking lots were full where this teenager was shot, he had just purchased a sandwich, the parking lot is next to a restaurant and across from a bar. Did NO person see anything? Is this a gang related event in which someone had to be shot in order to be in a gang? Was this a robbery? If so, what are the police doing about this? I agree with the writer who stated that thugs hanging around downtown should be hasseled to the point that they realize that it is useless to be downtown. Why are the people who own businesses not screaming over solving this crime? This crime keeps business away! Someone knows something…..incent them to talk! I cry everytime I think of this child’s family and the hurt and loss they are feeling. This is on the heel’s of the deliveryman getting shot and killed over FOOD. If Charlotte and New York City can clean up their downtown, why can’t Wilmington? We pay plenty of taxes!

  • boerob

    senseless; just totally senseless !!!!!

  • We see these young punks hanging around on the side and back streets all the time. We know they are not there to spend money in a night club, or eat in a downtown restaurant. The cops see them also, what can be done? I’ll tell you what can be done…Ask the punks for an Id, run it for warrants, then ask what their business downtown is. Check their pockets for cash or lack thereof and search for weapons. Let the criminals know that if they aren’t downtown to spend money they need to stay away, not loiter in the shadows. Many good people have been attacked on the back streets while the WPD hangs out in front of the bars on eyeball liberty. Foot patrols, horse patrols, Segway patrols and bike patrols, all are needed. They are needed on Second St. Orange St. Nun St. etc. The violence has been going on too long. The criminals know downtown is a easy mark for robberies,They have been getting away with it too long,it has got to stop. WPD, please make downtown an uncomfortable spot for these robber/murderers…



  • Guest54

    Well one thing is those of us that have to work in the bars to help pay for college etc. we are happy to know this crime was not associated with any BAR downtown. So many times the bar owners get blamed for everything. Now on to this terrible crime. If it was at 11 pm why did not one hear anything, there are houses all right there. The second thing is where is all the extra cops that are suppose to be saving and protecting the downtown area. Thirdly I feel so sorry for this mans family…they have lost a love one. And lastly I bet we find out it is another THUG that carries a gun and it will be interesting to see where the shooter lives!! Again I am sorry for the loss of this family, however greatful that a bar or the bar crowd did not get blamed since that money helps pay for me to go to school!!

  • Guest55

    It’s long past time for folks to get angry. It’s time to get busy. I’m taking a concealed weapons class in January and should have my permit by April. I WILL NOT go down without a fight. The criminals own my neighborhood (Downtown) right now. It’s time for this to end. The Police department are in denial and want to solve this by playing semantic games. You CANNOT trust them to defend you, nor to take your fear seriously.

    Fellow Downtowners – please arm yourselves and take weapons classes. Learn some basic self-defense techniques. Most important – MOST IMPORTANT – Look out for each other. Have each others back. Don’t let your friends walk around alone.

    Mr. Proutey, may God rest your soul and comfort your family, your friends, and your neighbors.

  • Sean

    “sitting at an intersection waiting for drunks wont cut it. standing in front of bars waiting to break up fights wont cut it.”


    The downtown police presence is all about extracting money through fines and court costs not actually stopping violent crime. If they moved one or two blocks outward they’d be a hell of a lot more useful in keeping the citizenry safe. City Limits can take care of itself guys.

  • noel frost

    Josh is my cousin.. and he will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him. He was known to be a comedian who loved his family more than anything. He grew up in Clayton, NC. with the same best friends he had all of his life. We used to play man hunt in his neighborhood when it got dark. He was funny and nice. The fact that someone took the time to do a background check on my cousin who was JUST murdered not even 48 hours ago disgusts me deeply. you are a sick, cruel, inhumane person. Would Josh do a background check on you if you were killed by any way? Absolutely not! he would send his best regards to your grieving loved ones. How nasty can you be? Just when you think the world can’t get any worse, your little cousin ONLY 19 YEARS OLD gets murdered by a monster. Then, someone posts a background check on him. Did you forget that he’s barely an adult? Did you make mistakes when you were YOUNG?! probably so. Why can’t some people just let us grieve and heal without kicking us while we’re down? and to all of the people who have stopped by the family’s home yesterday and today with food, kind words, memories, and warm hugs.. it’s appreciated more than you will ever realize and our family loves every single one of you. To C3 Church, a huge thank you to you as well for your prayers, phone calls, and the funeral that will be held with your church. My heart breaks for My uncle Don, (Joshua’s dad) Julie, Ben, and Jason (his siblings). The family will come together and we will mend our hearts together just as a family should. We have all lost someone special to us, but we’ve all also gained a beautiful angel to protect and guide us. Love you Josh and thanks for all the memories. Rest Easy in Paradise.

  • cwwhite

    I don’t live in Wilmington and I didn’t know Josh but I did lose a son two years go. The best thing anyone can spend their time on is praying for his family. His parents will never be the same. It will be very hard for them to find joy in any holiday or celebration again. Just imagine how they will feel on Josh’s birthday every year. They have many hard days ahead and can use your prayers more than criticism of police or talking about how to protect yourself. They need your support to hold them up and help them get out of bed each day.

  • 357sig

    So, according to the WPD, Mr. Proutey was at fault, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Will the city, or the WPD, please publish this secret list of the places not to be and at what times?

    How dare law enforcement blame this young man. He was at his job, earning a living.

    Will the scores of parents, and their children, be at the wrong place tonite when “Hobbit” is being performed? Is the WPD saying the city’s Community Arts Center is unsafe? How about the Children’s Art Museum, directly across the street? When is it the wrong time to take our children there?

    WPD’s arrogance is appalling.

  • Proutey

    Looking into my son, Joshua’s, background is as useless and senseless as his death. Do we want to be a culture of people who blame the victim? Josh was typical in many ways. There is NOTHING in his background that we are ashamed of. One minor offense that was later dismissed can not change who and what he was. Find ONE person that knew Joshi that did not think he was AWESOME, KIND HEARTED, COMPASSIONATE, and FUN! This background check won’t help you know him.

  • GuestofWind

    If you look at the starnews crime map. The majority of crimes are in downtown. WPD already has cameras everywhere, they patrol. Downtown has provided places where people can get cabs for the drunks. Here is the solution for reducing downtown crime. Reduce the number of bars. There are far too many bars downtown I believe 62-63 places licensed to sell alcohol. When a bar closes down a alot of them dont allow another bar to open in it’s spot but rather allow only a shop or resturant to be opened. This will slowly get rid of the bars. And for the bars that stay open. They need to be closed by midnight with last call at 10:30pm. If people still feel the need to party until the break fo dawn they can do so at their own home. Reducing the bars will bring better public opinion about downtown.

  • DisGuestedly

    Well said…

  • Brittney

    josh was a highschool friend of mine and very many , to know that i live in wilmington and not far from where this happened hurts more than words can describe,i dont feel safe here in wilmington anymore, and i truly expect the person who did this to understand they didnt just take josh they took the souls of many other teenagers, he was well loved and will be well missed.

  • Guest mag68

    This morning when I heard the news about the young man killed in Wilmington, my heart broke into a million peices as I lay on the floor crying and praying for him and his family. Did anyone think to check online for news updates and read them? If you are one of the people as myself who did check for new updates you noticed this young man has a name and it is: Joshua Patrick Proutey, Josh was one of God’s creations put on this earth for a purpose and a reason. My thoughts and prayer’s have been sent up to heaven and my condolences are going to the family and friends. I also wish to say, no one messes with God or his children. Read the Ten Commandents and you will find one of the 10 says, thy shall not kill.Please stop pointing your finger at each other, instead join together and pray for Josh and his family who has been left behind with a huge void in their heart and life forever. Be respectful to Josh and stop checking into his back ground. How disrespectful can one be to do this at a time like this. Be respectful to his family and friends. Have you even thought maybe his family is reading all the comments being written about their son who was killed in a parking lot after he had completed his job and was on his way home to most likely call and check in with his family.I have only read seven condolences sent to Josh’s family. Shame on you. My prayer is for God to hold Josh close to his heart and just rock him and welcome him to his new home in heaven. I also pray God will wrap his around this family and bring comfort,peace,and to keep his protective hedge around this hurting family and for his friends.I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus.My condolences again for Josh and his family and friends.Amen

  • WilmingtonHomeOwner&OIFvet

    I recently moved to wilmington, bought a home here and relocated with my two children and fiance, and my mother as well, things like this unfortunate life lost along with the horrible things that happened in Connecticut, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all of these victims, there needs to be armed, trained, and uninformed police officers in some situations in more public places in this country period, some of these horrible things could be prevented if people and communities came together and made significant changes when it comes protecting innocent citizens and even children,

    and to agree with your point with CHP,those are not enough if you do not really know how to use the weapon you own in a serious situation,

    i know about a hundred soldiers getting out of the military, some now jobless, that would pry jump at the opportunity to protect here in our homeland within our communities, whether its un-uniformed armed securtiy in every public school in the country, or its someone volunteering to patrol downtown wilmington 3rd shift with his permitted weapon having a presence to maybe prevent the next robbery,

  • Pedro

    They fail to mention that last Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. On the same street A similar attack occurred with the victim shooting back before his life was taken. This was not a random attack. Wpd needs to step up patrols to catch these criminals before another attack happens. Someone is prowling and preying on the residents downtown. Be aware of your surroundings. We live downtown and have never felt unsafe but this has to be stopped.

  • 28401

    This is a huge tragedy no doubt… but, unlike some of the comments, downtown is very safe, despite some occasional crime. It’s planet Earth.

  • RSimmons

    But not budget enough for an effective police force to get these thugs off the streets.

  • Vog46

    That is not mentioned.

    Has the move of the Police Station out of down town a factor in crime in the area?

    It is a curious situation


  • brian

    If he was leaving work at the regularly scheduled time and walking home, or to his car, then wouldn’t he have been in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time? Wrong place at the Wrong time implies that he wasn’t supposed to be there at that time.

  • Dennis b.

    I know this family.and now living in nc. realley hope the lowlife that did this come to justice….. did not know josh,but knowing the family he was a good kid.what a shame…..

  • Guestforward

    It has become very clear to me now, that downtown IS the wrong place… at any time…

  • mikemaz78

    this is a terrible tragedy that coul have, and should have been prevented. That being said, please become informed before you comment or continue to pass on untrue information. I live and work in downtown wilmington for almost 5 years now and have never had any problems of any consequence. I am consistently out late at night and I walk everywhere I go. I know how to handle myself and I look out for myself and the people around me. There are not shootings all the time as some of you have stated. The fact is that the crimes that do happen are typically teens attempting to rob people. more guns is not the answer, thats how these kids get guns to begin with. Downtown is a very small area and needs to be patrolled more effectively. sitting at an intersection waiting for drunks wont cut it. standing in front of bars waiting to break up fights wont cut it. These crimes are not committed by downtown patrons but by people aiming to prey on them. the police need to do a better job keeping a 10 square block area safe.

  • Maybe Saffo and his scumbag cronies should focus more on public safety other then ballfields and unwanted annexation

  • milt frost

    joshua was a cousin of mine and he was a great young man who never caused any greif for anyone and i hope and pray they find the people responsable for this and though it will never bring josh back to his huge family of cousins,father 2 older brothers and 1 sister maybe it will save someone elses family from going through this.rest in peace josh we are with you!

  • Arm me

    There are too many shootings downtown,
    People need to get concealed carry permits,
    If you are armed you wont be harmed.

  • The only way to win a fight is not to get in one. However, while it takes two to fight, it only takes one criminal to rob or kill you. I am in favor of responsible, law abiding citizens, that are trained, to have a concelled handgun permit(CHP) and to carry a pistol. The important thing to remember is that having a CHP is not enough. You have to be trained and skilled in a weapons use.

  • Guest23423

    This is not the first robbery that has taken place just south of the Central Business District in the past 10 days. Unfortunately this one had a much worse ending than the others did. Here’s an idea: Since the WPD has an extreme amount of officers patrolling the Military Cutoff/Eastwood/Airlie/Wrightsville Ave/Rogersville areas in search of low limit DWI’s and minor traffic violations, lets take just a few of them and assign them to non-uniformed foot patrols in the robbery/violent crime hotspots. It shouldn’t take a lost life for Ralph Evangelous to reevaluate his patrol assignments. Besides, the above mentions areas around Wrightsville Beach are already saturated with State Troopers, sheriff, and WBPD. I hope more than anything that the police catch this person, who is likely responsible for more than one crime, and I hope he suffers. Condolences to the victims family. And finally, I agree 100% with the person who posted about more citizens need concealed carry permits.

  • Phantom

    According to city code, it is illegal to have weapons on city property. The community arts center the victim was leaving, was indeed owned by the city. So, a concealed permit would have done him no good.

  • jtbailey85

    Yes, if you are armed you won’t be harmed…

    Because no one who carries a gun has ever been killed by a criminal…

    That’s logical.

  • Guest465356

    Wow was right in that area at that time. Did not hear any gunshots.I always carry downtown now because you just never know. This young man had e few misdemeanor arrests for marijuana but not much else on his record.

  • guest1970

    I’ve known Josh sense he was in high school with my child. And any infraction he may received with pott was while he was still growing and experiencing his youth.And he paid for it. He was a wonderful young man,who would give you the shirt off his back! And to have some jerk post that about him & do a background check after his death is just plain COMMON! Lets just hope you never did anything bad in your life because one day someone might post it about you! And I hope they DO!

  • Guestine015

    What is wrong with you? Did you really need to check his background and post his record? You are a moron!

  • Guest 1968

    I do not know this person personally but I am sure he was a fine young man just doing his job. We are not put on this earth to judge others, everyone makes mistakes and has done wrong in their life while growing up. Please have respect for this young man that lost his life and for his greiving family.I can’t believe that someone would be so heart less to check a background instead of praying for the one’s left behind.I must say that if “Pot” is all this young man has experienced while growing up what is the big deal.Who ever took this young mans life has left behind a Dad,Mother,Brothers and a Sister and all of his family and friends has left them with a void that will never be filled again. Obviously you have not lost a loved one. Please let the family have peace while they are suffering the loss of this young man.I feel you owe this family an apology and show some respect.

  • 28401

    I’m confused…what would he have had to have on his “record” for the killing to be okay? Previous post summed it up pretty well…”you’re a moron.”

  • Shelly71

    Joshua is my brother-in-law. While you had time to do a senseless background check today, we have been grieving with each other and calling one another trying to make sense of this crime. He was a great young man, with so much ahead of him. He had a wicked sense of humor that was only matched by his smile. In between the tears, we have been sharing our stories. There is no comfort for us. That background check was in no way a summary of his life, nor should it be. He made mistakes in his youth, as I’m sure you have. But he learned from them and was working and attending college. He was just trying to get home last night. He will be missed.

  • S Stricker

    I am a member of Josh’s large family. His mother is my cousin. For you to defame him like this for everyone to see is totally uncalled for. Who in the hell to do you think you are? God! Whoever you are I hope nothing bad ever happens to you or your family. Think about it. Think about Josh’s mom and dad. Think about his brothers and sister. And think more about his grandfather who recently lost his wife and before that one of his sons. Maybe you would like to do background checks on them too! The family is in grief and you feel you have the right to post the past record of a minor, a teenager a kid who made a “few” mistakes. In your eyes Mr. or Ms. judge and jury he deserved this and so does his family.

    You know what you are? A coward and a big part of the problem!

    RIP Josh and my prays to his family.

  • Guest1111

    I was going to have a Christmas party downtown, but several times a week I hear of shootings downtown. I do not want to put myself or my guests in danger, so I will avoid going downtown until something is done about the violence. We need to take back our city from these thugs.

  • I am sickened by this. I actually sat in my living room and cried when I heard this. He, nor his family and friends deserved this. It is ridiculous. I do not think him carrying a gun would have helped. If someone is randomly shot there is not much chance of them getting up, grabbing their gun, hunting down their shooter, and returning fire. It is a bit ridiculous. Also, if you’re downtown and someone comes up to rob you, and you grab your gun in your pocket instead of your money, how many other people will get shot in the crossfire? These are some things to think about.

  • Citizen of the Republic

    It is ridiculous. And your right, “These are some things to think about.” I couldn’t believe that someone would actually post such nonsense.

    You believe it’s better to die at the hands of a criminal, rather than have the means to defend yourself.

    Did the police have an opportunity to save this victim. No.
    If you leave your defense to a murdering criminal, your going to die.

    Better to die in a pile of empty brass, than to cower and be killed by a POS looking for pocket money for crack, too lazy to work.

    If you could ask this victim (a young man trying to better himself) if he would have wanted an opportunity to defend himself he would say absolutely yes. But your solution is exactly what happened to this young man. Give up your money, then get killed. Don’t want to risk any possible bystanders.

    Sincere condolences to the family and hopefully his killer will get caught and punished. Hopefully it will be a righteous jury that believes in severe punishment for a severe crime.

  • People start growing a pair and defending their neighbors and normal citizens.

    Someone will brag about this and it will not be passed on to the police.

    Black crime downtown is expanding at an alarming rate and needs to be extinguished ASAP by the NHCPD.

    There is no excuse for this, of course other than the always offered political correctness and lack of testicular fortitude.

    Condolences to the family of this young man who was probably there either playing ball with his killer or volunteering to help make a difference in some young kids life because there are no father figures or positive role models in the community where he was shot from behind by a coward.

  • jtbailey85

    One: read the article…it says why he was there.

    Two: Until you know otherwise, you’re only painting yourself as an obvious racist by assuming this is “black” crime or that the person who killed him was there “playing ball”…

    Might the killer be black? Sure. He/she might also be Hispanic or Asian or white. Black people are not the only criminals…

    And even if the killer is black, painting an entire community with one brush because of the actions of a few of its members is a huge error in logic (and humanity and morality).

  • 28401

    You’re a complete idiot.

  • Guest56290

    When will downtown businesses and homeowners start doing something about how dangerous their neighborhood is? I love the beautiful, historic homes in downtown Wilmington and would even consider purchasing one, but there is no way I would ever live in such a crime-ridden area, where thugs, drunks, and prostitutes are able to roam free. This is also why on the rare occasion I go to one of the downtown restaurants I make sure I’m out of there by 8 pm. After 8 or 9 pm, all the classy-looking people are gone, and what’s left are hoodlums and girls who look like prostitutes.

  • Jocoteen

    This is the fourth teen that Johnston County has lost in the past week. It’s not about what he should or shouldn’t have been doing. We need to pray that it doesn’t continue to happen, 45 teens in the last 4 years is 45 too many regardless of the circumstances. Josh always knew how to make anyone smile & was willing to help anyone that needed it. RIP to all the angels.

  • ENL

    If you know how to handle a firearm odds are no one will be caught in the cross fire.Only a worthless mutt will meet it’s maker.

  • GuestVader

    Not so sure……..sidewalks are city property and it is legal to carry concealed. I think city property basically means buildings like city hall, police dept. and such. I sure as Hell wouldn’t go into a city parking deck anytime, day or night without my gun. As far as cops patrolling the high crime area, I think most feel it is a little too dangerous for even them.

  • Guest CommonTater

    I get in trouble for having the gun or dead for not having it….. Wow that’s a tough one! I hope the shooter was aware of his violation as well. Some people…..

  • Government Mule

    A permit would have done him no good. However, a concealed weapon may have. Especially if every decent, normal person around also had one. Like the shooter had a permit. Permits. Dear God help us. Oh nooooo it’s illegal. Like anyone obeys laws anymore.

  • Kayla

    This is a horrible crime…when I saw this story it bought tears to my eyes. Im lost for words…my heart is heavy. Its Xmas time & someone has taken a innocent life & has caused a unbreakable pain & wound to his family that will never be healed. Wilmington crime has became scary. You jus never know what to expect day to day. There is no need for someone to think that they have the right to hurt or kill. Its just pure HATE. This family deserves justice…praying for them!!

  • Guest465356

    Post was not meant to demean the young man in anyway. If you think the investigator assigned to the case has not looked at his record you are sadly mistaken. I was just pointing out that it did not show anything regarding drug sales on his part. Why do you think most people got shot around here. DRUGS!!!!! Is a drug buy gone bad out of the question? These posts are not just for people like you who want to throw out ther feel good thoughts. Some people really want to know why this might have happened and who was involved. Some of us are part of the legal community and have to try to get to the actual causes of a matter and have to look at real evidence. Please pay your respects in person and donate to any fund set up in his name. And another thing, if my 19 year old son was shot and killed I surely would not be looking at internet posts on WWAY.

  • tweety11

    this is very tragic a young man has lost his life,a family has to bury there son and brother.Now background check is done all the time when the victim is not white or the one that committed the crime the first thing white people do not all is check for criminal activity and don’t give a dam about the family.Go figure,is it right no,but it is done.

  • WilmingtonHomeOwner&OIFvet

    I recently moved to wilmington, bought a home here and relocated with my two children and fiance, and my mother as well, things like this unfortunate life lost along with the horrible things that happened in Connecticut, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all of these victims, there needs to be armed, trained, and uninformed police officers in some situations in more public places in this country period, some of these horrible things could be prevented if people and communities came together and made significant changes when it comes protecting innocent citizens and even children,

    and to agree with your point with CHP,those are not enough if you do not really know how to use the weapon you own in a serious situation,

    i know about a hundred soldiers getting out of the military, some now jobless, that would pry jump at the opportunity to protect here in our homeland within our communities, whether its un-uniformed armed securtiy in every public school in the country, or its someone volunteering to patrol downtown wilmington 3rd shift with his permitted weapon having a presence to maybe prevent the next robbery,

  • Jeremy

    You have no idea what that young man would say and any assumptions you make in order to further your political point is cheap and offensive.


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