Published 9:31 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019

AHOSKIE – The 21-year-old mother of a small child is dead, the victim of another round of gun violence here in Ahoskie.

The Ahoskie Police are investigating the murder of Briana Monea Taylor of Ahoskie. She was shot Saturday morning and died a short time later at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said his office received a call at 10:27 a.m. in reference to a female lying on Lincoln Road in the general area of the VIP Club. Information was also shared regarding a blue vehicle seen leaving that area at a high rate of speed.

Fitzhugh said APD Officer Tyler Burden, while responding to Lincoln Road, met a vehicle matching that description heading into Ahoskie. He turned around to give pursuit, but the vehicle did not stop before wrecking at the intersection of Academy and Sunset streets. The vehicle came to rest on the Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital property.

According to Fitzhugh, Burden approached the vehicle, which was occupied by a male driver and a female in the back seat who was suffering from a gunshot wound. EMS was summoned and the shooting victim was taken to Vidant RCH where she died.

Fitzhugh said no arrests have been made. He said the driver of the vehicle, whose name was not released, was interviewed.

In a follow up on Tuesday morning, Fitzhugh said the investigation was at a point where certain details concerning the shooting could not be released, to include at what location the fatal shots were fired.

When asked it he felt Taylor was the intended target, Fitzhugh said that was also part of the ongoing investigation.

“As soon as we find those answers we will share those answers; we hope that’s very soon,” Fitzhugh told the R-C News-Herald on Tuesday.

Fitzhugh was also asked if he felt Taylor’s homicide was linked to the March 31 murder of Armin Trevon Cherry.

“We don’t know at this time,” the Police Chief answered.

Cherry was found deceased inside a vehicle parked in a private driveway at the corner of Everett Street and South Catherine Creek Road. He too had been shot to death.

The latest deadly shooting is the seventh in six years in Ahoskie. Four of the seven, including Taylor and Cherry, are yet to be solved, as are the March 2014 slaying of 85-year-old Ruby Baker inside her Parker Ave. home and the Sept. 2016 murder of 29-year-old Keon Tyvelle Harrell, shot to death in the parking lot of McDonalds restaurant.

When asked what can be done to stop this deadly rampage, Fitzhugh said it would have to a partnership between community members/organizations and law enforcement.

“We are seeing an increase in deadly gun violence here in Ahoskie and in Hertford County….it’s growing at an alarming rate all across our country,” he said. “Our job is to protect and serve our citizens, but we need them to help us; to be our eyes and our ears because we can’t be everywhere at once. We need them to come forward and share information. We can make a difference by working together as one.”

Fitzhugh added that parents/guardians and even school system officials could also help to curb this growing trend of deadly violence.

“It all starts at home where parents instill the sense of right vs. wrong, and then those fundamental values are honed even more at school,” the Police Chief stressed. “I’m reaching out to local organizations to forge partnerships; we will pull together and we will stop these violent acts.”

In the meantime, Fitzhugh said his department is working with other law enforcement agencies, to include the North Carolina SBI and the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, to investigate the two recent murders in Ahoskie.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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