Police: Car accident leads to shooting, friends react to victim’s death

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The community is remembering a Wilmington woman who was shot and killed on Halloween. The suspect faced a judge for the first time Monday afternoon.

Wilmington Police say Carly Rae Baron, 23, was shot and killed in the 3600 block of Wrightsville Avenue Saturday night.

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Jaquan Cortez Jackson, 21, is charged with second degree murder in her death.

Investigators say they don’t believe Jackson and Baron knew each other. They say the shooting stemmed from a car accident, which led to an argument between Jackson and a group of people.

Police say Jackson fired his gun during the argument.

Officers were allegedly nearby at a different call when they heard shots fired, and got to the scene to see a car speeding away. With the help of witnesses, police say they were able to track down and arrest Jackson shortly after.

Jackson’s family and friends were in court Monday afternoon, and say the situation was a tragic accident.

“This was not intentional. It was not intentional,” Jackson’s friend Quentin Powell, who was nearby Saturday night, said. “It was a complete accident. I feel like everybody should know he didn’t go out there and do that purposely or anything. It was just a complete accident.”

Jackson’s grandmother and grandfather say they want to send their condolences to Baron’s family and friends.

Those who knew Baron are still trying to process things. Two of her friends say she was the person in the room everyone was drawn to, and were shocked to hear the news about her death.

They say she was a leader and the type of person who was always looking out for other people.

“‘No’ was not in her vocabulary,” Baron’s friend Doron Morgan said. “‘Can’t’ was not in her vocabulary. She was a girl who, when she put her mid to it, she did it. And then being around her makes you think, ‘Dang, I can do it too.’ She gave off an energy, and that’s what Wilmington is missing right now. An iconic figure who was the embodiment of hope.”

Her friends say she had a passion for modeling and was destined for greatness. They also say she set an example for everyone else with her strength and independence.

“No matter how long people knew Carly, she has greatly impacted their lives, and their lives will be forever changed,” Baron’s friend Matt Ruprich said.

Baron was a graduate of UNCW. The university released a statement Monday following the news of her death:

“We are deeply sorry to share that UNCW has been notified of the passing of Carly Rae Baron, a junior Pre-Communication Studies major who joined the UNCW community this summer as a transfer student.  

Please keep Carly’s family and friends in your thoughts. Service details are not available at this time 

Grief support is available to students through the University Counseling Center and for faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program.”

District Attorney Ben David says the case is in district court right now, charged with second degree murder. He says they’ll review the case over the next two months, and work towards an indictment.

“I’m prohibited from getting into the facts of a pending investigation or to make any editorial comment,” David said. “What I think is appropriate for me to say is that a beautiful life has been taken and that a family is grieving and that we’re going to do everything we can within the bounds of the law and the justice system to make sure we get justice for Carly Rae Baron.”

Jackson is being held in the New Hanover County Jail under a $750,000 secured bond.

Morgan and Ruprich say they’re working on a video in remembrance of Baron, and plan on holding an event soon to honor her.