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Cops: 17-yo hoops player killed during grad party


By WTVD Staff

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    GARNER, North Carolina (WTVD) — A 17-year-old basketball player at Wakefield High School was shot and killed at a graduation party Saturday morning.

The shooting happened in the early hours of Saturday morning on Claymore Drive.

Garner Police Department later identified the victim was identified as Messiah Pitt.

Authorities said two people had been detained, but the search continues for two other people thought to be involved in the crime. No arrests have been made.

“This is a horrific tragedy, and our hearts go out to the victim, his family, and friends. Investigators are working diligently to identify and arrest those responsible for this senseless death,” said Captain Lorie Smith.

Pitt’s friend Carsten Grandy-Richardson told ABC11 that Pitt was a great person and basketball player.

“Really respectful and genuine person, very disheartening it had to be my brother. I know he is up hooping in heaven right now,” Grandy-Richardson told ABC11.

On Saturday, the Wakefield High basketball team tweeted, “Toughest day as a program we have ever had. All our players & families, past & present, we love you all.”

Dawn Blagrove’s daughter was in the parking lot leaving the party when the shooting happened right across the street from her.

“She heard pops, but she thought it was fireworks or maybe a cap gun,” Blagrove said. “Then there was the pause, and then she heard a bevy of what was undeniably gunshots”

Her daughter was able to retreat safely back inside the pool house where the party was held.

Blagrove described the party as a family event. She responded to her daughter’s call for help and arrived on the scene around midnight.

“It is shocking to them, and she is afraid, you know it’s Juneteeth we had plans to go out and celebrate. She is not prepared to be in crowds nor any of her friends outside today, and we have to, again, as a society we have to invest in our children and invest in mental health resources,” Blagrove said.

Blagrove is a community activist, and she said this shooting is just another example of why things need to change for the better.

“More police don’t stop this child from being dead. What stops this child from being dead and other children from dying from gun violence is much different gun laws, better gun control, but most importantly, investing in the people in our communities, making sure that everyone has access to the resources that they need,” Blagrove said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to reach out to Garner Police Department’s Crime Tip Line at (919) 890-7318 or

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