UPDATE: A memorial service will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, for 18-year-old Rashiaya Melton, a senior at Cedar Ridge High School, who was shot Oct. 28 at a Halloween party in Cedar Grove. Melton died the next day at UNC Hospitals.
A family visitation will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the United Church of Chapel Hill sanctuary, located at 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill. The memorial service will follow at 1 p.m., with burial at Hickory Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 9112 Bethel Hickory Grove Church Road.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with memorial expenses.
A high school senior who died after she was shot in the head at a party over the weekend was an innocent bystander who did not know her shooter, the Orange County sheriff said Wednesday.
Several 911 calls from the party also show that 18-year-old Rashiaya Melton did not know the people shooting guns in the early-morning hours Sunday at a crowded party.
“All I know is they got to shooting and everyone went to hiding,” one caller told a 911 dispatcher.
“Somebody got shot. Somebody got shot,” another caller said, adding that the shooter didn’t know Melton.
The two men who face first-degree murder charges in Melton’s death made their first court appearances Wednesday.
Xzavier D’Andre Gibson, 19, of Hillsborough was arrested Tuesday and also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. Takeem “Mudd” Haywood Norris Turrentine, 23, of Durham turned himself in Wednesday morning to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Melton, a senior at Cedar Ridge High School, was shot in the head around 1:24 a.m. Sunday at the Smokehouse Valley Farm, an unsanctioned party venue at 5223 Mill Creek Road in Cedar Grove. She was airlifted to UNC Hospitals and died Monday.
Gunshots were heard after a fight broke out at the party attended by roughly 300 people, authorities said. About 150 party-goers were there when deputies arrived. Blackwood said some were from as far away as Winston-Salem and Prospect Hill.
Melton was found behind the barn with a gunshot to the head. A second person, who was shot in the leg, was treated and released from a hospital, according to officials.
There are no more suspects in the case, Blackwood said, but there are “people of interest” with whom investigators want to talk.
“Sadly, across our country, across our state and across our county, there are folks who have ill intent toward others,” Blackwood said.
“We have got to be mindful of our own situational awareness that there are still people out there that are intending to do harm to others,” he said. “That doesn’t mean you need to change everything about the way you live your life, but you certainly need to pay attention to your surroundings and be vigilant.”
Although witnesses were initially slow to speak with investigators about what happened, Blackwood said his office started getting more calls once word got out that Melton had died.
Dwight Poole, the owner of the Smokehouse Valley Farm, could face civil or criminal penalties, Blackwood said.
Investigators are looking into the source of the alcohol that was served at the party, which was attended by underage teens, he said.
“We’re working with (the owner) to find out exactly what he needs to do with that property to determine whether or not there are other things he needs to do to bring it up to spec,” Blackwood said. “Either way, he’s going to be held accountable for what happened there.”