Petition circulating to have bouncer recognized as hero - WNCT

Petition circulating to have bouncer recognized as hero

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NEW BERN, N.C. -

A petition is circulating to have a local bouncer and retired Marine recognized nationally for heroic deeds.

Retired Staff Sgt. Todd North, a bouncer at Flyers bar in Havelock, April 14 died from gunshot wounds. The bar's owner, John Bruns, says North put himself in the line of fire to prevent others from being shot.

More than 100 people were in the bar or in the vicinity of the bar the night of the shooting, said district attorney Scott Thomas. Bruns says North died as he was locking the door to keep the shooter outside the bar.

"He saved brothers, mothers, fathers, peoples' lives," said Joseph McCarthy, Todd North's friend of 15 years.

Five people aside from North were injured by gunshot wounds, said Thomas.

But the number of wounded or killed could have been higher had North not shielded others, said New Bern resident Zachary Leingang, who started a petition Monday to have North selected as a candidate for the Presidential Citizens Medal.

"It's for citizens that show exemplary service for their fellow citizen," said Leingang.

Leingang says he only met North a few times, but he says North's heroism the day he died inspired him.

"Whenever a Marine falls, we want to make sure that they're honored," Leingang said.

Already the petition has more than 2,800 signatures, but signatures don't guarantee the award.

"One hundred thousand signatures will garner the president's attention," said Leingang.

Leingang says he's not giving up. The community has shown much support, leaving dozens of flowers, handwritten notes, and heartfelt messages at a makeshift memorial outside Flyers.

"When someone does an extraordinary thing in your community, that person should be honored," said Leingang.

When the petition is ready, Leingang says he's planning to submit it to state representatives, the president, the vice president, and the sergeant major of the Marine Corps.

"He stood in front of the door, locked that door, and saved Countless Marine and civilian lives," said Shane Williams, Todd North's friend.

The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/petitions/award-ret-ssgt-todd-north-the-presidential-citizens-medal

Jonathan Pugh, 18, is charged with first degree murder for North's death. The Havelock High School junior made his first court appearance Wednesday morning. A judge told him Pugh faces life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.

Pugh was kicked out of the bar earlier the night of the shooting for fighting. He came back 10 minutes later and opened fire, said Thomas.

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