05/04/12 — Gunfire claims 21-year-old

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Gunfire claims 21-year-old

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on May 4, 2012 1:46 PM

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The mother of murder victim Khyrie Roberts reacts to Goldsboro Police Sgt. Paige Learnard's words at the scene of a deadly shooting in the parking lot of Madison Market Grill and Grocery on Thursday.

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Bystanders react to news that a 21-year-old Goldsboro man had been shot outside the Madison Market Grill and Grocery.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The names of the bystanders and eyewitnesses quoted in this story have, at their request, been withheld for their protection.

A young woman took a few steps before falling to her knees.

A few hundred feet away, Khyrie Roberts, 21, lay lifeless on the floor of the Madison Market Grill and Grocery.

"No," she screamed, wiping tears off her face. "No. No. No."

The man walking alongside her leaned down to help her up, but she resisted.

"No," she screamed again. "Oh Lord, no. Why?"

Moments later, she was back on her feet -- attempting to continue her flight from the scene of a deadly shooting.

But after a few more steps, her knees, again, went weak.

Some cried.

Others wailed.

And there were even those who professed anger.

No more than 30 minutes had gone by since shots rang out along Madison Avenue, but word had spread.

Members of the Goldsboro Police Department are currently investigating the Thursday morning shooting that left Roberts dead.

But long before they left the scene, residents of the neighborhoods that surround it were trying to unwrap what had happened -- reacting to what they heard and saw at just after 11 a.m.

One woman said she was walking toward the store when four shots rang out.

"I was just walking down the street and heard, 'Boom. Boom,'" she said. "And just as I'm thinking to myself, 'Were those gunshots?' I heard two more."

A man who said he was smoking a cigarette less than a block away nodded his head.

"It was like, 'Pop. Pop,' he said. "Then, nothing. Then, 'Pop. Pop.'"

Others didn't see or hear the shooting, but said they were notified that Roberts, who they characterized as "a friend," had been killed.

"What's happening to our babies? What's happening to our neighborhood?" said one woman, a tear rolling down her face. "What's happening to our world? Why would God let this happen?"

The woman standing next to her said there was no explanation.

"All I know is that another young black man is dead," she said. "It seems like this is happening more and more around here lately. A part of me is fixin' to get the hell out of Goldsboro."

Investigators have not yet released any answers, either.

They would only say that Roberts was shot in the parking lot and his body was found inside the store -- that anyone with information should call 580-4203 or 735-2255.

But no arrest they make -- or murder conviction they pursue -- could provide the victim's mother with what she asked for when she arrived along Madison Avenue Thursday.

Her face void of expression, she approached the yellow tape meant to maintain an uncontaminated crime scene -- her face wet from the tears still rolling off her cheeks.

And when an investigator met her next to one of the ambulances parked along the road, she broke down.

"I want my baby. I just want my baby," she said. "I came for my baby. Please, let me have my baby."