KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — A prayer vigil with hopes of ending violence in the city of Kinston took place Friday morning at the Mitchell Wooten Housing Complex.
Nearly 100 law enforcement officers and community members gathered to remember two men shot and killed this week outside Building 13 of the complex on Wednesday.
The mother of victim Donald Girtley Jr. said more people need to appreciate the officers who put themselves in danger to make the city safer.
“This is amazing how the community came together,” said Angel Howard, Girtley’s mother. “Law enforcement was so active, and it’s not fair how we usually give them such a bad, bad wrap.”
A 15-year-old male was charged with two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of 18-year-old Donald Girtley Jr. and 23-year-old Demone Nesbitt. Girtley Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene. Nesbitt died en route to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
Howard hopes the community remembers her son in a positive way.
“He wanted to go into the military,” Howard said. “He was to meet with a recruiter on Monday. He didn’t want to go to a four-year college because he didn’t want his children to have to rely on government assistance. He wanted to provide. And he wanted to give them the chance that he had.”
Kinston police say they’re working on several initiatives to prevent retaliation and lower the city’s crime rate. That means pairing up with the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, the SBI, ALE, and other organizations.
“Kinston Housing Authority, they have proven to be a great partner in our efforts to evade crime,” said Chief Alonzo Jaynes, Kinston Police Department. “They have installed cameras in our housing communities and will increase the number of cameras in the very near future.”
Police are also implementing a pilot program at Kinston High School. Its goal is to educate students about the consequences of violent crime.
Kinston police said at a news conference Thursday that it was video surveillance that led to the teen’s arrest by police in Goldsboro. When Goldsboro police approached the teen, officers said he fled but was caught and arrested.
So far, no motive has been released.
The teen was transported to a juvenile detention center in Greenville and because he is a juvenile his name is not being released.
During the news conference, police also announced the arrest of Ryan Mosley in the murder of Antonio Hines from 2016. Mosely was with the 15-year-old charged in the Kinston murders.
Police said they don’t know if the teen knew the men who were shot, but they said it appears it was not a random act.
Girtley’s death has proved difficult for his mother in more ways than one.
“I’m now faced with the challenge of having to raise funds to bury my son and raise two of his infant children without him,” said Howard. She said she wants people “to remember Donald for the fun, loving, bubbly, outgoing, caring individual he was.”