74-year-old North Carolina woman killed by ‘celebratory gunfire’

Although police frequently caution against it, 4th of July celebrants often fire their guns into the air, perhaps forgetting, in their glee, that what goes up must come down. Too often when those bullets come down, the result is death.

Paulette Thorpe, 74, died Saturday from just such a celebration in Durham, North Carolina, the Raleigh New & Observer reports.

Durham police responded to a report of a gunshot wound at about 11 p.m. near North Carolina Central University on the city’s south side. Thorpe, who had been marking the holiday with her family, was rushed to a hospital, where she died.

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“Last night as people throughout Durham peacefully celebrated the July 4th holiday with their friends and family, a small few chose to put our community at risk by carelessly firing guns into the air,” Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis said in a statement. “This reckless behavior led to the tragic death of Ms. Paulette Thorpe. 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.”

Celebratory gunfire is a crime. In Durham firing a gun into the air is a CLASS 3 misdemeanor with a fine of up to…

Posted by Durham Police Department on Saturday, July 4, 2020


Earlier Saturday, Durham police made a specific Facebook post warning against “celebratory gunfire,” noting that it’s a misdemeanor with fines up to $500.

“Bullets fired in the air can travel a long distance,” Durham police said. “And, what goes up, more often than not, must come down and sometimes, has fatal consequences for people and pets.”

For Paulette Thorpe, the message went unheeded.

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[Featured image: Durham Police Department]