Fearing more violence, Hertford, NC officials impose curfew after recent shootings leave 1 dead, 2 injured

North Carolina

HERTFORD, N.C. (WAVY) — Shootings that left two people injured and another dead in a span of just 72 hours have prompted the mayor of a North Carolina town to impose a curfew.

Hertford, North Carolina, Mayor Earnell Brown sent out a message on Facebook Tuesday afternoon announcing the curfew, went into effect starting Tuesday.

“We’re very concerned about our babies. I do not want any children caught in the crossfire,” said the mayor in a Wednesday afternoon interview.

Children under 18 must be off the streets by 4 p.m., adults by 9 p.m.

The curfew follows three shootings in 72 hours beginning Saturday: two in the town, one in nearby Winfall. All three victims were Hertford residents. One person is dead, two others are in critical condition.

The mayor says those responsible are not locals.

“I feel, I believe, and I am getting some information that they are coming from outside of Hertford. So, I shut Hertford down,” she said.

Police Chief Dennis Brown is asking for help from residents, and he’s working with state investigators and neighboring departments.

“We are developing good information and we really hope that with additional information that my come from the public we’ll be able to tie a lot of this together,” the chief said.

He wouldn’t comment on whether the shootings were gang-related, but says there are small gangs that are active in Hertford. The curfew covers the entire town, with a focus on King, Stokes, Market and Dobbs Streets.

A local preacher says it’s a good idea for Hertford’s older residents, but is skeptical about how effective it will be with young adults.

“They’re still outside with the COVID-19, They’re still having parties with the COVID-19, so if the COVID-19 can’t keep them in the house what makes you think the curfew will keep them in the house?” asked Angela Hedgepeth, assistant minister of First Baptist Church.

Further down King Street, Cliff White agrees with the mayor that the people responsible are a “bad element” from outside the town.

“Some of the people coming in to visit, you don’t want them here,” White said.

The mayor says she went out for a drive Tuesday night after 9 p.m. to gauge how much her residents are buying-in to the idea of staying in.

“I covered each neighborhood to make sure everybody was safe and everybody was in. It was quiet,” she said. The curfew has been in effect since Tuesday and it will continue until next Tuesday, when the mayor says she will reevaluate.

According to the town proclamation declaring a state of emergency. the curfew will be in effect “until modified or rescinded.”

The exceptions to the curfew include going to scheduled doctor’s appointments and employment.

“Visits to the store, gas stations and to pick-up prescriptions should be done during non-curfew hours,” Brown wrote in the post.

Authorities believe the shootings were all drive-bys.

“This is very serious, and we offer our condolences and prayers to the victims and their families,” Brown wrote in a Facebook post. “The shootings were drive-bys. It is presumed that the perpetrators were not Hertford residents, however given with the death of [an] innocent nine-year[-old] girl in Edenton, and the shooting this weekend of [a] one-year-old, in Virginia, I believe this is the correct action to take to protect Hertford citizens. I am also meeting with the Hertford Police Department and the Hertford Housing Authority to develop proactive strategies to keep our citizens safe.”

The Hertford Police chief also sent out a message on social media Tuesday saying authorities are working “diligently” to solve the shootings, but have “received credible information that more violence may occur.”

Police are increasing enforcement activities and working with other state and local departments in an effort to keep the community safe.

The chief also asked those with information to come forward and report anything they believe to be suspicious.

“This is not the time to keep secrets and protect violent individuals. Remember bullets have no names,” the chief wrote.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates.

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