Reckless 'celebratory gunfire' kills 74-year-old in North Carolina: police

Durham police were called around 11 p.m. to a home for a report of a gunshot wound

An investigation was underway into the Fourth of July shooting death of a 74-year-old North Carolina woman who police say was the innocent victim of reckless “celebratory gunfire.”

Durham police were called around 11 p.m. to a house address for a report of a gunshot wound, according to reports.

The victim, Paulette Thorpe, was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said.

“Last night as people throughout Durham peacefully celebrated the July Fourth holiday with their friends and family, a small few chose to put our community at risk by carelessly firing guns into the air,” Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said.

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“This reckless behavior led to the tragic death of Ms. Paulette Thorpe,” she said. “Ms. Thorpe’s death reminds us that we as a community must work together to prevent these senseless acts, so that no family suffers such a tragedy ever again.”

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Hours before the shooting, a post on Durham Police Department Facebook page warned against firing guns in the air, pointing out that in Durham celebratory gunfire was a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

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“Here’s why: Bullets fired in the air can travel a long distance,” the post said. “And, what goes up, more often than not, must come down… and sometimes has fatal consequences for people and pets.”

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