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Looking Back: The Top 9 Stories of 2013 - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Looking Back: The Top 9 Stories of 2013

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - With Christmas in the books, let's take a moment and reflect on the year gone by – particularly as it pertains to the local headlines that dominated the news cycle this year.

·         The year 2013 kicked off with a Republican take-over in state government. Pat McCrory took his oath of office on Jan. 5, becoming the first Republican-elected governor in 20 years. His election gave GOP lawmakers control for the first time since the 1800s. At the end of the year, McCrory touted a lower unemployment rate and a new tax overhaul plan as successes. But through it all, his conservative agenda unleashed protests for things like cuts to unemployment benefits and pay freezes for teachers.

·         Cell phone video of road rage that turned to gunfire went viral in March. Deputies say a Lenoir County man named Bradley Turner got angry after two men cut him off while driving. He followed them and punched one in the face, before the two men beat him to the ground. Turner’s wife got out and handed him a gun that deputies say he used to fire into the other car. He’s now facing up to four years in prison.

·         9 On Your Side hosted its first ever Mental Health Town Hall in May. We brought all your questions to a panel of experts. No topic was off-limits, from medical advances, to available resources, to the need to stop stigma and discrimination. It’s part of our station's commitment to shedding light on the challenges facing our state's mental health system.

·         Former New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis found himself in the spotlight a couple of times. Back in May, police charged him with DWI. He blew a 0.0 on the breathalyzer test, but blood tests revealed Xanax in his system. Bettis didn't run for re-election.

·         9 On Your Side was the first on the scene in June when a man went on a shooting spree in Greenville, hurting four people. Police say 23-year-old Lakim Faust shot a man in the parking lot of a law firm before shooting three others in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Police eventually shot and arrested Faust. All his victims survived. Court documents show Faust chose his victims based on their race or religion. He now faces four counts of attempted first degree murder.

·         In July, officers hunted down and killed a massive alligator after it ate an 80-pound dog. Police say they had to shoot and kill the 500-pound alligator because it was too big to relocate and was a threat to public safety. The 12-foot-long animal will soon be displayed at a museum in Sneads Ferry.

·         In August, police say 82-year-old John Jenkins randomly fired at tree trimmers in Vanceboro, sending three to the hospital before officers shot him. Investigators say he was apparently upset with the tree service. Jenkins has a lengthy criminal past and now faces three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

·         Two months later, a Morehead City police officer accidentally shot a fellow officer in the chest during a training exercise. The police department conducted an internal investigation and fired officer Marvin Willis III in November.

·         The year wrapped up with a special moment for WNCT: our 60th anniversary on the air. From our coverage of hurricanes, to presidential visits and breaking news, we've been there for you since 1953. As 2014 approaches, you can bet the East's longest-running newscast will stay committed to you.

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