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As investigation continues into deadly drive-by shooting, 2 Statesville schools will be remote Friday

A 19-year-old was killed and a 15-year-old was seriously hurt in what family members said was a drive-by shooting at a home in Statesville Wednesday.

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — Northview Academy in Statesville closed Thursday after two teenagers were shot in what family members said was a deadly drive-by ambush Wednesday night. Two Statesville schools, Northview Academy and Statesville High School, will be remote Friday.

Statesville police responded to a reported shooting at a home on Goldsboro Avenue late Wednesday. When officers got to the home, they found two teenagers who were shot. One of the victims, identified by family as 19-year-old Zion Sincere Wilder, died at the scene. 

The other victim, a 15-year-old boy, was rushed to the hospital after being shot in the head, Wilder's aunt said. The 15-year-old is currently being treated at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition, police confirmed.

In addition to the victims, three adults and three juveniles, ages 14,16 and 17, were also inside the home at the time of the shooting, police said.

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Star Turner, Wilder's aunt who raised him as a boy, said the shooter(s) surrounded the house and opened fire. Turner explained that the suspects even shot up her car, leading her to believe this was a planned attack. 

"It was an ambush," Turner said. "They came from one half of the house all the way around to the back. To me it was personal. For them to even shoot up my car, yeah this was personal. And you took somebody's life and almost took another life? That's sad."

Turner said she was in the kitchen when she heard gunshots. 

"I don't believe it's right that somebody can just cut your life off," she said. "Who gives somebody the right or the power to say when you can live or when you can die? There's nobody who can do that." 

 Around 1:28 a.m. Thursday, while investigating to the deadly shooting, officers heard gunshots near the intersection of Fayetteville Avenue and Fifth Street.

Two juveniles were found in the area, and as officers attempted to approach them, one suspect ran, police said. 

Officers pursued the suspect and during the chase the suspect dropped a loaded 9mm pistol. 

The 14-year-old suspect was taken into custody and the firearm was seized, according to police. He was charged with possession of a handgun by a minor, carrying a concealed handgun and resist, delay or obstructing a public officer and was later released to his mother.

The Statesville Police Department sent a statement to WCNC Charlotte calling the arrest a "separate incident" from the deadly shooting. WCNC Charlotte has reached out to the department to reuqest additional information about the second incident.

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A post on the school's Facebook page confirmed it would be closed Thursday. 

"This closure is out of safety precautions for our students and staff," the post reads. "All buses will be sent back home. We will ensure that all students are safely dropped off back at their homes." 

Later in the evening Thursday, the district confirmed both Northview Academy and Statesville High School will switch to remote learning for Friday.

The district's full statement follows:

In light of an ongoing investigation that occurred last night involving students in our community, multiple campuses were placed on Security Alert today. A Security Alert allows the school to limit movement and to secure the outside perimeter without interrupting the learning day. Classes at Northview Academy, which provides an alternative learning opportunity for students in Iredell-Statesville Schools, were also canceled today out of concern from the students and staff. Iredell-Statesville Schools recognizes and appreciates the quick response by the Statesville Police Department in this situation. 

As the investigation continues, Northview Academy and Statesville High School will both hold a Remote Learning Day tomorrow, March 17, 2023. It is our goal to keep our students safe and focused on learning. As a district committed to continuous improvement, our safety team will continue to work with the Statesville Police Department to provide resources to improve and protect the safety of our students and staff.

Northview Academy, formerly Pressly School, is an alternative school for students in grades K-12. According to the school's website, it serves students who have dropped out and wish to re-enroll, need extra mental health support and face extraordinary life circumstances that prevent them from attending a traditional school. 

“This is a real tragedy for our community," Statesville City Council, Frederick Foster said.

Youth violence becoming more common. Statesville City Council member, Fredrick Foster says the city installed some cameras in problem areas, which slowed down crime a bit, but he says it's time to invest in the city's young people. 

“It’s best to invest so we don’t have this happen again, get programs so we can get these kids off the streets," Foster said. 

Meanwhile, for Wilder, it's too late. 

“I go from hurt to anger, something got to be done," Turner said. 

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