Hundreds turn out for Henderson crime meeting - WNCN: News, Weather

Hundreds turn out for Henderson crime meeting

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HENDERSON, N.C. -

In the last eight months, three teens have been shot to death in Henderson. There have also been two sexual assaults, four carjackings and a double murder at a local motel in recent weeks.

All of this crime activity has people in town concerned, including the Vance County Board of Education.

Tuesday night, the board sponsored a meeting at a local Henderson school to talk about how to keep school age kids in town safe.

But the meeting attracted hundreds of people from town — many of whom wanted to talk about more than just teenaged crime.

In fact, so many attended, they all stood in the hallways of the E.M. Rollins Elementary School, unable to fit into the auditorium where the meeting was being held.

Among those in the overflow crowd, a woman who was carjacked while at a local laundromat back in January.
 
"I thought I was going to die," said Tamara Smith.  "That's the only thing going through my head; I'm about to die from drying some clothes at the laundry."

Smith says she escaped death after the carjacker let her go after she emptied her bank account at gunpoint at the local ATM.

But three weeks ago, Smith was a crime victim again.

"I was at the convenience store getting a soda and cigarettes and a guy came in there with a gun and robbed the store," she said. "I jumped down over the counter and he tripped over my foot. I thought he was going to shoot the guy in the store."

Two weeks ago at the Scottish Inn, 34-year-old Kenya Hodges and 33-year-old Jerome Kearny were killed. Tuesday afternoon a suspect was arrested.

Also attending the crime meeting was one of Jerome's relatives, who'd just heard that a suspect was taken into custody in connection with the double homicide.

"It was a relief but it's still not helping," said Sarah Lewis. "It was a senseless killing; you took two people away from their families and now there are nieces and nephews asking for their mom and their dad and we can't tell them anything."

The meeting was designed to be the first of several in Henderson involving suggestions for dealing with youth crime and youth safety.

But, after seeing the response, a city official called it "a good starting point" because it seemed to bring together people from all walks of life in Henderson. People are now trying to figure out how they can deal with the criminal violence that is racking the city.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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