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Teen charged with murder in Walmart shooting ordered to be held without bond; victim identified

Murder suspect in court
Murder suspect in court(WECT)
Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 6:12 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - An 18-year-old charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old in the parking lot of the Walmart at Monkey Junction last week will remain in jail under no bond, a judge ordered.

Thomas Dean Duran, 18, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the case, made his first court appearance Monday morning.

If convicted, Duran faces a maximum penalty of life in prison or death. A representative with the capital defender’s office will be appointed to represent him.

The DA’s office also said Monday that they plan to indict Duran for armed robbery but those charges haven’t come down yet.

Duran and two others were arrested over the weekend in connection with the shooting. Taytum Krysteene Herrick, 20, and Hailey Danielle Berardi, 19, who both have been charged with accessory after the fact, made their first court appearances Monday afternoon and face life in prison if convicted. Their next court date is Dec. 3.

According to family members, the victim in the shooting was 17-year-old Gavin Dozier.

I know that the community is scared. I know that there’s a lot of parents watching. I know that there are folks who hold their children a little tighter after a case like this and this is probably challenging a lot of peoples notions of what defendants look like, and you know it that’s an important conversation to have as a community," said DA Ben David. “The three defendants are 18 and over. I will say that we’re talking about really young people and we’re talking about a victim who wasn’t even 18 at the time and we need to do what we can by all the kids in our community to make sure that when something is that happens, that we get justice for them.”

Officials say there is an active warrant out for the arrest of Laron Lee Carter, 22, on a charge of first-degree murder in the case. The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday he is believed to be in the Fayetteville area.

“This is an unfortunate incident for everyone. You know, these are young kids who got involved in something that they should’ve been involved with and now we have a young 17-year-old boy who’s life is over with. We have two other gentleman at an 18-year-old and a 22-year-old male who lives will be changed forever,” said Lt. Jerry Brewer of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. “We hate that something like this is happened in our community."

Leaders in the DA’s office and the sheriff’s office say one major reason they were able to identify suspects and begin building their case is because of help from the community.

“I want to compliment the community. I wish we had this response in all cases where we have people reaching out, calling 911 and say ‘I have information and I want to share it with you.’ We stop at nothing to get justice for everybody but what we see is that depending where within the community things happen, where certain witnesses are there you’re going to have a level of cooperation in a case like this that is not something we have in all cases.” said David.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Carter is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 910-798-4162 or online.

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