The grandmother of a North Carolina teen who was shot eight times by a police officer early Saturday recently broke her silence amid her wait for answers and a state investigation.
“He’s fighting for his life. He’s fighting for his life,” Wanda Bethea, grandmother of 18-year-old Dezmond Bethea, said about the teen being shot in Laurinburg to local news outlet WPDE. “And as far as the investigation, we can’t say anything, like. The SBI (State Bureau of Investigation). It could take a week. It could take a month. It could take whatever. You know, we’re still waiting to hear from there. I understand it’s going to take some time for this to take place.”
Police responded to a call around 2 a.m. Saturday about shots being fired at an intersection in Laurinburg, Police Chief Darwin Williams confirmed. One officer was involved in the shooting, Williams said, declining to speak on the specific incident details. The officer and teen’s names were also not released as well as information on whether the teen was unarmed.
An Emergency Medical Services director, however, shed some light on what happened during the shooting.
“There were two different calls. Whether they were related or not I can’t say for certain, but they were both transported from the same area at about the same time,” Roylin Hammond, EMS director at Scotland Memorial Hospital in Laurinburg, said to Laurinburg Exchange, another local news outlet. “The calls came in at a little after 2 a.m. and another around 2:30 [a.m.].”
The first individual was taken from a food mart parking lot, and a second person with multiple gunshot wounds was transported to the hospital, according to Hammond.
The teen, who is a Scotland High School senior, suffered 17 wounds and underwent an eight-hour surgery, Bethea said. Her road to making a full recovery will involve more surgeries.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is investigating the officer-involved shooting. The Scotland County NAACP in also involved in the matter, the Laurinburg Exchange said.