‘Watch your children’: 16-year-old hospitalized after shooting inside Gastonia home

GASTONIA, N.C. — Detectives are investigating after a 16-year-old was hurt in a shooting Thursday at his home in Gastonia.

According to police, officers responded just before 5 p.m. to reports of a shooting at a home on Keith Drive.

Police said that when they got there, they went inside the home and found a 16-year-old boy who had been shot. He was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. His condition is unknown.

Investigators do not believe the shooting was random.

Witness Rodney Whitener said he was playing with his son when he heard muffled gunshots coming from the apartment next door.

“Felt and sound like someone was literally falling down the stairs,” he said.

He said he later learned that was the sound of his 16-year-old neighbor stumbling down the stairs after being shot.

Whitener said he ran outside and saw a boy close to his neighbor’s age jump from a window with a gun.

“It’s the kind of thing that don’t leave your memory forever,” he said.

When he made it to his neighbor’s front door, he told Channel 9 he saw the 16-year-old laying on the ground with his father standing over him trying to help.

“Seeing him like that was like seeing one of my own laying like that,” Whitener said.

Whitener said he and his family are praying the teen survives.

“Watch your children. Keep them close. Shelter them if you have to so that this never happens again,” he said.

Police are still looking for the shooter.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting or a suspect is asked to contact detectives at 704-866-6878. Residents may also call Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000.

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