‘It breaks my heart’: 2 killed, 2-year-old hurt in Asheboro shooting

North Carolina

ASHEBORO, N.C. — Two young men, one 25 years old and one 16 years old, were shot and killed in the middle of an Asheboro neighborhood. A two-year-old was also shot and is recovering.

The community and loved ones are now trying to make sense of the sudden violence. 

“He was supposed to come see me after he left Coleridge,” Danielle Gayness said.

But 25-year-old Eli Gainey never showed up. His fiancé, Gayness, said the reality of the situation still hasn’t hit her.

“I still don’t really believe it. I think it’s more so that I’m trapped in a nightmare,” she explained.

A nightmare that is made even worse by the lack of answers.

“Eli and his friend Reece were just hanging out, you know, outside of Coleridge [Road Apartments],” Gayness said. “Two guys apparently ran up and started shooting and took off. That’s literally all I know.”

“I mainly just heard the shots going off and people arguing and everything. It was just chaotic,” Stacey Willard said.

Willard lives in the Coleridge Road Apartment complex and heard the chaos on Thursday night.

All that’s left is a bunch of flowers tucked into a sidewalk.

Willard told FOX8 she heard about 17 gunshots go off around 6 p.m. 

“I was terrified,” she said.

Now, she’s praying for the two-year-old boy who investigators say was shot in the leg.

“It breaks my heart. I mean, I don’t see why a cold-hearted person would even think about shooting a child,” Willard said.

It hits too close to home for her and her own toddler. 

“I’m trying to get out [of the complex] myself because I have a little girl to take care of,” she said. “It’s terrifying. It could have been her.”

The community and family and friends are beginning to grieve.

“they messed up so many people’s lives,” Gayness said. “Things are never going to be the same again without him.” 

They’re demanding answers and that something be done.

“I just want justice for Eli and his friend Reece. They deserve it. The family deserves it. They were both young, and they both had their whole lives ahead of them,” Gayness said. “This wasn’t his time to go. It wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Asheboro police told FOX8 this was a targeted incident. The two-year-old is expected to be OK.

Anyone with information is asked to call Randolph County Crimestoppers at (336) 672-7463. 

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