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One person dead in Paramount shooting

One man was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting early Thursday at a large apartment complex in north Greenville, officials said.

The incident occurred about 4:30 a.m. at 4460 Bostic Drive in Paramount 3800, according to the Greenville Police Department. Officers found one man dead at the scene; the two others were transported to Vidant Medical Center with gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening.

Police had not released names as of Thursday afternoon. Spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said the shooting was not random and occurred outside an apartment.

Those involved did know each other or are associated with each other in some way, Hunter said. It was not known if those involved lived at the Paramount 3800, she said.

Detectives were at the complex throughout the morning gathering evidence.

Three guns were recovered from the scene, but Hunter did not know details about the firearms.

Several people were taken into custody for interviews at the police department. No charges had been filed as of Thursday afternoon.

Detectives were still trying to figure out the motive and what exactly happened Thursday, Hunter said late Thursday morning.

The investigation was very active and ongoing, she said at the scene.

“As you can see behind me, we are hours into this, there are still lots of officers and detectives at the scene gathering as much information as possible, so at this point that’s all we have,” she said.

The victim’s body has been transported to the medical examiner’s office for positive identification and an autopsy, she said.

The department reported later that no further updates would be available on Thursday.

Zeta's winds leave 3,000 with electricity in Greenville

About 3,000 homes lost power Thursday as the remnants of Hurricane Zeta sped through Greenville after leaving a trail of damage and causing at least six death across the Southeast.

Wind gusts locally reached 43 mph, downing trees and limbs and taking Greenville Utilities power lines in several locations, officials reported.

The Greenville Police Department reported shortly before 2:30 p.m. that a downed tree blocked travel on 14th Street between Elm Street and Brownlea Drive.

Nearly 1,900 customers in the area were without electricity until 3:30 p.m. as a result, according to GUC’s online outage map. Another 208 outages were scattered around Greenville.

No injuries were reported, police said.

Officers were stationed at several intersections throughout Greenville, including 14th Street and Greenville Boulevard and 10th Street and Greenville Boulevard, to direct traffic because of the outages, Greenville Police Department spokeswoman Kristin Hunter said

Downed trees also left 915 customers along Stantonsburg Road in the area near Garner Road and Bunch Lane without electricity for several hours.

Zeta was the 27th named storm of a historically busy Atlantic hurricane season with more than a month left to go. It set a new record as the 11th named storm to make landfall in the continental U.S. in a single season, well beyond the nine storms that hit in 1916.

It gained strength over the Gulf of Mexico along a path slightly to the east of Hurricane Laura, which was blamed for at least 27 deaths in Louisiana in August, and Hurricane Delta, which exacerbated Laura’s damage in the same area weeks later.

A Category 2 hurricane when it hit the southeastern Louisiana coast Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said Zeta weakened to a post-tropical storm by afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia.

The latest punch from a record hurricane season left people shaken. Will Arute said it sounded like a bomb went off when part of a large oak snapped outside his home in New Orleans, and crashed into his car and a corner of his home.

“I did not anticipate this to happen. It was pretty intense along the eye wall when it went through here,” he said.

Mackenzie Umanzor didn’t make many preparations because the last hurricane to threaten her home in D’Iberville, Mississippi, a few weeks ago did little damage. Zeta blew open doors she had tried to barricade, leaving her with a cut hand, and the top of her shed came loose.

“You could hear the tin roof waving in the wind. ... And there was a couple of snaps, lots of cracks of branches and trees falling,” she said. “It was pretty scary.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said the most severe destruction — what he described as “catastrophic damage” — appears to be on the barrier island of Grand Isle in Jefferson Parish, where Zeta punched three breaches in the levee, the only levee failure from the storm in the state. Edwards says he ordered the Louisiana National Guard to fly in soldiers to assist with search and rescue efforts, including door-to-door checks on property.

Four people died in Alabama and Georgia when trees fell on homes, authorities said. The dead included two people pinned to their bed when a tree crashed through, Gwinnett County fire officials said.

In Mississippi, Leslie Richardson, 58, drowned when he was trapped in rising seawater in Biloxi after taking video of the raging storm, Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer said. Richardson and another man exited a floating car and desperately clung to a tree before his strength “just gave out,” Switzer said.

A 55-year-old man was electrocuted by a downed power line in New Orleans, a Louisiana coroner said.

Morning rush hour commuters in Atlanta had to dodge downed trees and navigate their way past signals with no power. Trees blocked lanes on two interstates, the Georgia Department of Transportation said.

Iin North Carolina, a highway was blocked by a toppled tree in Winston-Salem and Wake Forest University canceled classes for the day.

Cole to retire from bench in March


HERTFORD — J.C. Cole, a longtime Superior Court Judge who’s heard numerous cases in Pitt County, has announced he plans to retire from the bench in the spring.

A judge in the 1st Judicial District for more than two decades, Cole said he plans to step down at the end of March. Cole said he’s retiring because he will reach the mandatory retirement age for judges in North Carolina next year.

A Hertford resident, Cole won election to District Court judge in 1994. Cole was appointed to the Superior Court in 2009 by then-Gov. Beverly Perdue. He was re-elected in 2010 to an eight-year term and then re-elected again in 2018.

Cole has presided over at least 65 separate criminal or civil sessions in Pitt County Superior Court since 2009, according to records in the Pitt County Clerk of Court office.

Cole and Pitt County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Marvin Blount III were appointed to Superior Court within a month of each other, Blount said.

“We love to have him come to court here in Pitt County,” Blount said. “He’s just an outstanding judge and wonderful with people.”

Many in the Pitt County Courthouse like to call Cole their favorite Pitt County judge, he said.

Cole has always taken a special interest in youth who have appeared before his court and works with youth in the community, Blount said.

Blount said he’s often been with Cole outside the courthouse and witnessed young people introduce themselves and thank Cole for his help.

“He believes in tough love but his judgments always have been fair and places conditions where they can be successful,” said Robert C. Kemp, Pitt County Public Defender.

Cole earned his undergraduate degree from Livingstone College, received his master’s degree in criminal justice from North Carolina Central University and his law degree from NCCU’s School of Law.

Cole is married to Janice McKenzie Cole, a retired District Court judge and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, appointed by then-President Bill Clinton.

Court personnel in Perquimans County honored Cole during a recent court session, noting it might be the last time he presides in a courtroom in the county.

County records 39th COVID-19 death

Pitt County recorded its 39th death from COVID-19 on Thursday, the same day the state had its single highest day of new cases.

The woman died on Monday, according to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. She was black and between 65-74 years of age.

Nineteen women and 20 men have died since the pandemic began in March. The first death was on April 5.

Twenty who died were 75 or older, 12 were between 65-74 and seven were between 50-64. Twenty-three were white and 16 were black.

The Daily Reflector has reviewed vital records for dozens of Pitt County residents that showed COVID-19 was a factor. Records that match data reported by the state confirm that COVID was the immediate or underlying cause, or both.

News of the 39th death came on the same day that DHHS reported 2,885 new cases statewide. It surpasses the previous high of 2,716 on Oct. 23.

Cases statewide have been on an upward trend since early September. Locally, the Pitt County Health Department reports they have leveled off in the range of 40 to 50 new cases a day since spikes in August and early October.

Pitt County had 54 new cases on Thursday, up from 29 on Wednesday and 11 on Tuesday, according to DHHS data. Both the state and county report positive test rates are just over 6 percent.

Hospitalizations remain high statewide and locally. As of Wednesday, 1,181 were hospitalized statewide, down from a high of 1,211 on Monday. Vidant Health reported 115 people were hospitalized at its facilities in eastern North Carolina.

As Halloween approaches, state and local officials have been encouraging residents to remain cautious, wear masks and maintain social distance.

Restrictions on gatherings remain in place. Indoor gatherings and generally limited to 25 people, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 50.

Exceptions include political rallies, and at least three cases are now linked to recent gatherings, according to the Associated Press.

Health officials confirmed Wednesday a person who attended a campaign rally for Dan Forest, a candidate for governor, in Burnsville on Oct. 15 tested positive.

Two people who attended President Donald Trump’s rally last week in Gastonia also have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday.

“These cases are not thought to be an indication of spread from the rally at this time, but rather two independent cases among individuals who were in attendance,” a statement from the department said.

It recommended anyone who attended the president’s Oct. 21 rally to assess their own risk, monitor for symptoms and get tested if necessary.