Police are trying to determine who shot and killed Winzo Omari Gill Jr. behind a couple of duplex apartments east of downtown Wednesday night.
Friends say Gill was released from prison in September and had tried to find a job and get custody of his children since then. Police have not disclosed a motive for the shooting.
The homicide, Raleigh’s fifth of the year, occurred shortly after 10 p.m. near the intersection of Hill and Jones streets, about three blocks south of St. Augustine’s College, said police spokesman Jim Sughrue.
A woman called 911 at 10:03 p.m. to report the shooting. The unidentified caller was nearly unintelligible but managed to give the emergency dispatcher the address.
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“Hurry,” she told the dispatcher. “He’s dying.”
When officers arrived, they found Gill with at least one gunshot wound. Emergency workers transported him to WakeMed, where he died, Sughrue said.
Residents in the working-class neighborhood said they heard two or three gunshots that brought a lot of people outside to see what was going on. Several residents said they normally would not have paid much attention to the gunshots because gunfire is common in the neighborhood. Wednesday night was different, because the gun bursts were so loud.
Gill served a little more than three months in prison after he was convicted last June in Wake County of assault with a deadly weapon, resisting an officer and hit and run. He was released Sept. 7, state records show.
In August 2010, he was convicted in Wake County of felony drug charges and served four months in prison, state records show.
Gill’s family could not be reached for comment Thursday. His friends say Gill had tired of run-ins with the law and was trying to start anew.
Nikia Roderick, 34, stood on Jones Street Thursday with a small group of Gill’s friends who described him as caring, “with a heart of gold.”
Roderick said she talked with Gill earlier Wednesday. She said Gill did not live in the neighborhood but was frequently around. Roderick said she knew about Gill’s past involvement with drugs but said “he had stopped all of that.”
“He said he was trying to get custody of his kids and trying to get a job,” Roderick said. “He said it was hard because he had a (criminal) record.”
Roderick did not say how many children Gill has, or their ages. Police ask anyone with information about the case to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-834-4357.