18-year-old Frederick Cox

HIGH POINT, N.C. — When gunshots rang out at a High Point funeral, a teenager tried to save the people around him. Then, he was shot by a plain-clothes Davidson County deputy.

At about 3:29 p.m. on Nov. 8, Living Water Baptist Church, located on the 1300 block of Brentwood Street, was holding a funeral service outdoors when a shooter opened fire on worshippers.

Witnesses told police that multiple shots were fired from at least two vehicles: a newer model dark gray four-door Dodge Charger and a white four-door sedan.

When officers arrived, they saw multiple vehicles speeding away from the scene.

Witnesses said shots were fired from the vehicles toward people in the crowd outside the church, as well as from some people in the crowd back at the vehicles.

Officers found about 70 shell casings from four different caliber weapons: 9mm, .40, .45, and .223.

Frederick Cox, 18, of High Point, was found dead. Police also found a few other victims suffering from minor injuries.

On Wednesday, officers revealed that a Davidson County deputy in plain clothes was at the funeral as part of an investigation into a Davidson County homicide.

Police say the deputy tried to help people to safety once the shots rang out.

At some point during the incident, the deputy fired his gun and shot and killed Cox.

Because a law enforcement officer fired their weapon, the High Point Police Department immediately contacted the State Bureau of Investigation and asked that they lead the investigation per standard protocol.

Witnesses say that Cox was helping people to safety before he was killed.

Tavaris Johnson Jr., 12, and his mother Vivian were putting up plates in the car when the boy was shot in the right hand, according to the pastor. That’s when they say Cox pushed Vivian and her son into the church. 

Tavaris said he had carried the weight of that moment, and began to blame himself for Cox’s death.

“I just felt like, if I was inside the church, he would’ve had a way to get in and been uninjured,” Johnson said.

As a way to share Cox’s story of heroics to the family he left behind, which includes his two children, the 12-year-old wrote a letter to share what Cox did.

If he had not opened the door and has us go in first, I may not be here today,” Johnson wrote. “So thank you for your son’s good heart and sacrifice.

No suspect information has been released.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the High Point Police Department at (336) 883-3224 or Crime Stoppers of High Point at (336) 889-4000.