A woman shot and killed early Friday was trying to keep a young man from firing his weapon on a block plagued by drug dealing, friends and neighbors said.
Lorraine Pearson, 47, of 305 Raleigh Ave., was shot in the neck in the middle of the road in front of her home about 2:30 a.m., allegedly by a 21-year-old man she had a confrontation with hours before
, her neighbors said. She died at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.
Police issued a warrant for the arrest of Markelby Jerome Ward, also known as “Scooter,” on charges of first-degree murder, Cpl. Kip Gaskins of the Greenville Police Department said.
Her friends and neighbors said Pearson had confronted Ward after he rode a bicycle along the street about 6 p.m. Thursday.
Next-door neighbor Mattie Jones said on Friday that she is frightened and angry. She said the killing was senseless, the result of out-of-control crime on the block.
“I hate what’s going on in the neighborhood,” Jones said. “I’ve been living here 37 years, sitting right here on my porch. Now, I can’t sit on my porch no more. It hurts my feelings.”
Jones also was dazed by her friend’s death, she said.
“I knew Lorraine for seven years,” Jones said. “She was a great talker and a good girl.”
Jones said Ward had been riding his bike up and down the street about 6 p.m. the evening before and shooting a handgun in the air.
“She told him loudly to go home and stop acting crazy,” Mattie Jones said.
Jones’ son, Tyrone, said that Pearson had gone into the street and confronted Ward about the shooting.
Ward left the block when confronted by Pearson, Tyrone Jones said. He saw no sign of him until early the next morning.
“She was always out here trying to get the young folks to stop acting crazy,” Dorothy Daniels, Mattie Jones’ daughter, said.
Tyrone Jones said he was inside his house about 2:30 a.m., and he heard Pearson and Ward arguing about Ward’s earlier gunplay.
“He told her he didn’t have a gun, and she told him, 'Scooter, I saw you with the gun. I saw you go get it and come back.’ They were arguing back and forth like that, and all of a sudden, I heard a shot,” Tyrone Jones said.
When he heard the shot, Tyrone Jones said he ran outside and saw Pearson lying in the middle of Raleigh Avenue in a pool of blood.
“I saw a lot of blood coming from her neck, and I asked her, 'Lorraine, who did this to you?’” Tyrone Jones said. “She said, 'Scooter,’ and that was the last thing she said.”
The neighbors all said Ward was one of many young people who are involved in an extensive drug trade that is a regular feature of life on Raleigh Avenue.
“It’s rough around here. They’re selling drugs everywhere up and down here,” Daniels said.
The residents said officers from the police department’s IMPACT unit and the gang unit regularly patrol the neighborhood and have established good relationships in the community.
“When the activity gets heavy, they come in here full-force and take care of business. I like that,” Daniels said. But the drug dealers come back.
“We worry all the time, because you never know where a bullet’s gonna go,” Jones’ neighbor and friend, Alice Tyree, said.
Tyree and Mattie Jones looked up the block at the neatly trimmed gardens and bushes in front of some of the homes.
It used to be a nice neighborhood, until the drug dealers and the whores took it over, they said.
From where they sat, Tyree pointed in both directions up and down the street.
“Two blocks in either way, they took it over,” she said. “They fill the streets.”
Daniels explained their warning system.
“When a cop shows up on the street, one of them will be on a bike and shout, 'Roscoe’ or 'Hot Boys,’” she said. “Then you’ll see one get on his cell phone and call someone else who calls another and give warnings around the neighborhood. But there’s one word that gets them all running and clears the street: 'Lucas,’” Daniels said, referring to Greenville police Gang Unit Sgt. Nick Lucas.
Contact Michael Abramowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (252) 329-9571.