'Ugly hasn't won': Wilmington community holds back-to-school event, despite death of teen

The very same park where a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed Saturday night was the same location where the community had planned a free, back-to-school barbecue Sunday. It still went on, as planned, with a message that the violence won’t be tolerated.

"What you’re seeing here is a community saying the ugly hasn’t won," Pastor of Joshua Harvest Church, Derrick Johnson, stated.

Music, moon bounces, free food and games all at Wilmington’s Helen Chambers Playground where children and families gathered. Not even 24 hours before where a 14-year-old boy lost his life. Pastor Johnson met with the boy’s family Sunday.

"It is our failure. It is our responsibility and it’s our loss and our pain," Pastor Johnson said. "Perhaps this is the most therapeutic thing we could do when somebody’s killed. We should take all the kids we can find and go to that spot and play basketball and play volleyball."


Wilmington police say the boy was shot and killed neat 6th and Madison Streets around 9:30 Saturday night. A 20-year-old was also wounded in the shooting.

About two hours later, around 11:15, police say someone opened fire on 27th Street, near Market Street, wounding three men and one woman.

"We have to find a way to engage the children and not just the children, but the parents," Councilmember Bregetta Fields said.

The annual back-to-school part was already planned at the park. Organizers felt they should still move forward with it for the community.

"I think it’s beautiful, because everyone’s having fun," resident Christopher Parson said.

"No matter what happens, we are still a family. We are still a community. So, we’re not going to allow anyone to come into our neighborhoods and tear down what we have built so far," Fields added.

At least two of the victims in those two separate shootings are in the hospital in critical condition. Wilmington Police are actively investigating both and ask anyone with information to call them.