Raleigh drum major shot, killed while doing volunteer work

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh police are looking for the people responsible for shooting and killing a drum major while he was spending his day volunteering in Raleigh.

Charlie Debnam, 31, wore his drum major costume with pride. Now, that red, black and gold glittered outfit stands with his memorial.

“We lost one fine man, beautiful person,” said Sylvia Wiggins, executive director of the Helping Hand Mission.

Debnam spent his Saturday packing donations and handing out fans at the Helping Hand Mission.

“He was making orders, he was putting the food in boxes,” said Wiggins. “He was so involved in what he was doing and trying to make somebody smile that day.”

Wiggins said around 7 to 7:30 p.m., he walked to get them Gatorade drinks at the store across the street.

“We kept hearing all these shots and I thought it was fireworks,” said Wiggins.

But the 10 to 12 pops they heard were actually gunshots. Wiggins says people in two cars were shooting at each other.

Debnam got hit and killed in the crossfire.

“We’re still shocked,” said his older brother Remega Terrell Debnam. “We’re still waiting for somebody to say the dream is over, but it ain’t come full circle yet because he was an angel.”

His large tight-knit family is in shambles.

“I haven’t slept in 72 hours, can’t eat, couldn’t go to work today,” said Remega Terrell Debnam. “He was so eclectic, his energy, he was just magnetic, man. He didn’t care about anybody’s flaws, where they came from.”

Wiggins said when she spent the day with Debnam Saturday, he told her he was going to make calls on Monday to go back to medical school. She said she knew his future was bright.

“My heart just dropped because this isn’t my first rodeo. Almost a year and a half ago, my drum major got killed,” she said.

CBS 17 interviewed Debnam when his friend and fellow band member Keonte Gause died in 2019.

“Once you join the Helping Hand Mission, you become a family member. We are a family here,” he told CBS 17 in that interview in 2019.

Now that family and the Debnam family, are hurting.

“That’s what he did — he served. I kind of find peace in knowing that … he died doing what he loved, helping people,” said his brother.

A GoFundMe has been set up to assist his family with expenses.

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