Police: 18-year-old killed, two others hurt in Gastonia shooting; advocates plead for change

GASTONIA, N.C. — The Gastonia Police Department is investigating a shooting that left an 18-year-old dead and two others hurt Friday night.

Police said the three people were all shot on North King Street near Airline Avenue. Omar Hardin, 18, of Gastonia, later died at the hospital.

The condition of the two other victims, a 19-year-old and 27-year-old, is unknown at this point.

A handgun was found at the scene, police said.

There is no suspect information at this time. Police believe the shooting was an isolated incident. The investigation is active and ongoing.

“We don’t know exactly what led up to the shooting, what their involvement was, so we’re hoping to get some more details,” said Rick Goodale, with the Gastonia Police Department.

Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.

‘We need peace’: Advocates plead for violence to stop

A Gastonia community is fighting to stop the violence after a series of deadly shootings this summer.

Nine people have died in homicides in Gastonia in 2021. Five of those deaths were in the Highland community, all since May.

“I’ve never seen like this, I’ve never seen this with killing as much shooting as much violence as this,” said Finland Fair, founder of 101 Black Men.

On May 16, someone shot two people outside a home on Westwood Circle -- one of those victims died. Less than two weeks later, someone shot a man while he was driving on Westwood Circle. He crashed a few blocks away and died at the scene.

Then on June 8, someone shot and killed a man outside of a busy gas station on North Chester Street. The most recent was the triple shooting on North King Street.

Neighbors who live in the Highland community didn’t want to be identified, but told Channel 9′s Almiya White that they are ready to move from the place they call home.

“It’s got to stop. It’s got to stop because we need peace, we need peace,” Fair said.

That Fair’s one wish after hearing about another shooting in the Highland community in Gastonia.

“Unfortunately, in that particular community ... several homicides have occurred there this year,” Goodale said.

Fair said he is working to ease the violence and bring his community back together.

“We’re going to continue to be in the community, continue to be seen, and continue to stand up,” he said.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Tried to shoot me’: Gastonia police look for man accused of shooting at another car)