Hip hop festival near tiny NC town ends with seven shot, one dead

This rural county is extremely violent

Enfield, NC, has a population of 1,865 people, of which about 86% are Black. Despite the small population, they had a mass shooting early this morning.

Seven people were shot at an outdoor hip-hop party. One person, Cierra Webb, 25, has died so far. Police say that hundreds of people were at the party, but they have received very little information from witnesses.

Despite having such a small population, Enfield is not even a stranger to mass shootings. In August 2017, two elderly White couples were slaughtered during a home invasion. (Note: the location of this quadruple homicide uses Enfield as their address, but they were classified as county homicides. This might also be true for yesterday’s shooting, which occurred at a ranch outside the city lines.)

James Harris, 88, Janice Harris, 72, James Whitley, 76, and Peggy Jo Whitley, 67, had been playing cards at the Harris residence when they were all shot and killed. Matthew Simms, a Black male who was already a suspect in a 2015 murder, was charged with four counts of murder. Later, three more career criminals were arrested in relation to the murders, two Blacks and one White. None were ever prosecuted for these killings, and the charges were dismissed in 2022. The four victims have never received justice.

It is believed that the victims were targeted because Jim Harris was a gunsmith and a federally licensed gun dealer.

Enfield also had a Black on Black killing just last August. This one occurred at a park within city limits. The city has reported four official murders to the FBI for the years between 2019 and 2021. This gives them an average annual homicide rate of 71.5 per 100k!

Enfield is in Halifax County, which has a total of 48,272 people. It is about 54% Black. The largest city is Roanoke Rapids, which has 15,128 people and high number of homicides.

There are seven law enforcement agencies within Halifax County providing data to the FBI on homicides. These are the total homicides reported per year.

Year: # of homicides (population, homicide rate)

2018: 13 (51k, 25.5 per 100k)
2019: 6 (50k, 12 per 100k)
2020: 12 (49k, 24.5 per 100k)
2021: 18 (48k, 37.5 per 100k)

Average annual homicide rate is 24.9 per 100k. Higher than what Chicago experienced during the same time period.

This website recently published a report on the entire state of South Carolina, showing that Black rural areas often have incredibly high homicide rates.

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