LENOIR, N.C. - Police are investigating a homicide after they said a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed Friday night in Lenoir.
Officers and medics were called to 307 Atwood Drive just before 11:30 p.m. after reports that the boy had been shot inside an apartment.
The Lenoir Fire Department and Caldwell County EMS responded and pronounced Kent Taylor dead at the scene.
Investigators are still determining what led to the shooting.
Detectives said a neighbor called police after people who were inside the home ran to his house, said Taylor had been shot and asked him to call 911.
A man who lives at the house where Taylor was shot and killed told Channel 9 a group of people were inside the home and one man was playing with a gun went it went off and a bullet hit the boy in the torso area.
Christy Eanes showed Channel 9 where Taylor was shot inside her apartment in Lenoir.
When she learned of the shooting, she said she rushed to his side.
"I was rubbing his face and saying, ‘Come on, Kent. Come on, Kent, stay with me. It's going to be OK,’ and I called his mama and I said, ‘Kent has been shot. You need to get here right now,’” she said. “I heard a loud bang. I thought it was a firecracker.”
Her son rushed from his bedroom only to see people leaving the apartment and the 15-year-old on the floor. He said that at first he didn't realize that the teenager had been shot, and when he did, he tried to stop the bleeding.
He said the teenager told his cousin earlier not to play with the weapon.
"It was an accident. Dusty was popping the cartridges out of the gun and Kent told him, 'You better stop, Dusty, before you accidentally shoot somebody,'” he said.
Eyewitnesses said the gun was a 9mm.
Investigators have not yet confirmed that information but said they identified and interviewed persons of interest in the case.
No arrests have been made or charges filed at this point, investigators said.
The lead investigator in the case said they have more interviews to do before they forward their investigation to the district attorney to decide on charges.
Investigators confirmed that Taylor was a ninth-grade student at Hibriten High School.
School officials told Channel 9 that extra counselors and social workers were on hand Monday to help students at the school.
"It is less us telling them than them telling us. It is allowing them to speak express their thoughts and express their feelings,” principal David Colwell said.
Channel 9 also learned Monday morning that police executed a search warrant at the apartment over the weekend. According to the search warrant, police seized six cellphones and a cartridge. They said they plan to forward the results of their investigation to the district attorney once it is complete.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2100 or report anonymously to Lenoir/Caldwell County Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300.
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