HICKORY, N.C. — Police said two shooting scenes -- one in Hickory that left a 16-year-old dead and a 3-year-old hospitalized, and one in Burke County where a 17-year-old was found dead -- are connected.
Officials said a 16-year-old boy died and a 3-year-old girl was in stable condition after gunfire erupted Thursday night at the Blue Ridge Heights apartments on First Street SW.
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A 17-year-old was found dead later Thursday night miles away in Burke County, officials said. According to Channel 9's partners at the Hickory Daily Record, that teenager was a suspect in a dispute that led to the shooting in Hickory.
Authorities said he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officers were called around 8:20 p.m. to the shooting on First Street SW. Bystanders rushed the 16-year-old, Devin O'Dariess Lee, to the hospital where he later died, according to investigators.
Police said the toddler was outside during the time of the shooting and was hit by shrapnel. She is expected to be OK.
Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty was with officers as they responded to the scene where the 16-year-old and 3-year-old were shot. Several bullet holes could be seen in a Jeep and dozens of evidence markers were scattered across the ground.
"All of a sudden I heard some gunshots go off, boom, boom, boom, boom," witness Lula Flowers said. "There were several of them that rang out. I felt a little fragment in the back of my back hit me. I ducked down and hurried up and ran from the parking lot."
Extra police were called to Frye Regional Medical Center, where the victims were being treated, after upset family members began to arrive.
Witnesses said the hospital was placed on lockdown for a short period of time.
Just before 9 p.m., police learned that 17-year-old Zamare Davidson, the suspect in the shooting, had died as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a home in Burke County.
A second suspect, identified as 20-year-old Jonathan Laxton, was taken into custody at that same house and charged with one count of accessory after the fact.
Detectives said the shooting appeared to be the result of a dispute between Lee and Davidson.
Lee's mother Sylvia Baker said her son and Davidson are distant cousins.
"When I got up there, I saw them putting my baby in the car. I don't know what happened or why," Baker said. "There's a lot of hearsay and a lot of it is not true. I should have prayed a little bit more for my son bcause I knew he was out there on the streets."
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First Street SW was closed in both directions during the investigation.
The police department asked the Hickory Fire Department to bring in more lighting to help look for evidence on First Street SW.
Investigators said they're trying to get surveillance video from two cameras at the apartment complex in order to get a better picture of what happened.
The investigation remains open.
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