A girl was fatally shot outside of a North Carolina mall within the same hour that her cousin was gunned down just miles away.
Avenanna Propst, a 13-year-old Concord resident, was killed on Saturday outside of a Dave & Buster’s at Concord Mills Mall, according to a media release issued by local police. Officers with the Concord Police Department, as well as deputies with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, responded at around 8:40 p.m. to reports of an altercation taking place outside of the arcade, with witnesses later reporting that gunshots had been heard.
After authorities arrived, they discovered that three people had sustained gunshot wounds. Propst died at the scene, and two male juveniles survived non-life threatening injuries.
Police released surveillance images of a person of interest, and on Wednesday, Dontae Laquavious Milton-Black, 18, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder and felony riot, police said in a separate release.
Investigators say that prior to the shooting, Milton-Black was involved in a verbal dispute with an unnamed 16-year-old boy near a GameStop in the mall. The teen told police he saw Milton-Black “manipulating a firearm in his clothing," according to the release.
Fearful, the teen left the mall through Dave & Buster’s to the parking lot, where Milton-Black allegedly spotted him and began firing.
In a tragic twist of fate, Propst’s cousin, Derron Jordan, was shot less than an hour earlier in a separate incident at an intersection about 10 miles away from the mall, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Police who responded to the scene found Jordan, 31, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to a media release. He was taken to the hospital, but he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
On Sunday, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Jordan’s suspected killer, Omarionne Tymyrre Hudson, who is wanted on first-degree murder charges. The 16-year-old is considered “armed and dangerous,” and the public has been advised not to approach him, said police.
Authorities have not said the shootings are related, but they have not ruled out the possibility. Prior to Milton-Black’s arrest, Concord Police Chief Gary Gacek told People there is "no evidence to connect the two, and none to rule that unlikely possibility out."
The Concord Police Department has asked anyone with information on either case to call the Concord Police Department at 704-920-5000 or Cabarrus County Crime Stoppers at 704-932-CRIME.
Propst was an eighth grader at A.C.E. Academy Public Charter School in Harrisburg, and she was scheduled to graduate this year, reported Charlotte CBS affiliate WBTV. Counseling services are being provided to help the community process the loss, said the school’s executive director, Laila Minott, in a statement.
“She’s a baby, she’s 13 years old. This is hard to process, accept, or even understand,” that statement reads. “We support our families in and out of school and anytime one of our children suffer, we all suffer. We will support Avenanna’s family for as long as it takes to get through these painful, unimaginable times.”
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