RALEIGH — To hear his stepmother tell it, Adarius Monquell Fowler was an intelligent teen who tithed at church, kept an A/B average and read avidly from a wall full of books.
Police, though, added these details: Fowler had outstanding arrest warrants and possible connections to a Raleigh Bloods gang.
On Tuesday night, more than 70 people packed a small community center to spread this message: Southeast Raleigh needs to rise up and make sure no more 16-year-olds get shot dead on its corners -- whether those kids make the honor roll or youthful mistakes.
"Is this not your community?" asked Fiaunna Shivers, Fowler's stepmother who lives in North Raleigh. "Yes or no? That's what I need to know. Infiltrate. Take charge. Do something about it. We should not have to wait till somebody dies to take action."
Fowler's shooting came on the Friday night before Thanksgiving, and it marked the third homicide on the 300 block of North Tarboro Street since 2005.
Police have stepped up patrols and stopped several hundred cars looking for the shooter since then, Sgt. Rick Armstrong said.
Officers searching for a witness in a Dodge Intrepid located the car and discovered that the driver was not a witness, but another victim whose car had been hit by a bullet, he said.
"There was also a baby seat in that vehicle, and the bullet hole was only a foot or two from the baby seat," Armstrong said. "Still, that person did not report it to police."
At Tuesday's meeting of the North Central Citizens Advisory Council, talk focused on the neighborhood's silence. Police said a strong "no snitch" code is keeping information hidden.
"This has been so hard," said Pat Dixon, who owns a lot on East Lane Street nearby. "I see a lot of children walking up and down this street, and I know somebody knows something."
Armstrong said the Bloods are Raleigh's most active gang, and though the rival Crips work mainly out of Durham, violence often rises between members of the same gang. "He was possibly a Blood," he said. "We don't know whether he was trying to get out of it. He had some outstanding warrants against him."
But neighbors described a wider problem of loitering on the 300 block, malt liquor sales to minors, single cigarettes sold for 75 cents.
"That block has been terrible," said Octavia Rainey, chair of the North Central CAC. "The businesses have not been good. The businesses need to be held more accountable."
Southeast Raleigh activist Daniel Coleman said that so many of the people in that neighborhood have no money, which causes them to lose hope and do stupid things.
Next week at the YWCA on East Hargett Street, the city will hold a meeting asking how to spend federal money. With it, neighbors believe, hope might return.
email@example.com or 919-829-4818