Fourth of July fireworks canceled in Hamlet due to gang concerns - | WBTV Charlotte

Fourth of July fireworks canceled in Hamlet due to gang concerns

HAMLET, NC (WBTV) -

At her Main Street Yoga Studio, Johnnie Butterfield refuses to shy away from celebrating the Fourth of July in downtown Hamlet.

"The fourth is Independence Day so we should all be able to show our freedom,” Butterfield said." It's a shame that we live in such a fear-based society. That patriotism should show no fear."

Jonathan Blanton, who is the city manager, said a 20-year-old man was fatally shot last week outside a convenience store in Hamlet. 

Blanton said the decision to cancel the holiday fireworks for this year came after receiving "credible threats" involving gang retaliation.

"When you have four credible threats, all that are similar, all that are coming in at the same time, separate independent threats that have a link to our Fourth of July - it was just too large of a risk to take and one that is unnecessary,” Blanton said. 

However, threats of violence aren't stopping Butterfield.  "I for one won't let it get me down or family down or anyone down. I'm gonna show patriotism," Butterfield. 

City officials said the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office established a gang task force to deal with the issue of violence.

PREVIOUS: NC city cancels Fourth of July festivities due to 'heightened safety concerns'

City officials released a statement Monday afternoon saying the city was canceling all Fourth of July festivities.

"Due to heightened safety concerns and recent security developments that have been brought to the City’s attention, the City believes that this decision is in the best interest of the safety of our citizens and the community," the statement read.

This is the first time the fireworks display has been canceled due to something like this, but Blanton said in the interest of keeping everyone safe, the city believes this is the right call.

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