09/11/12 — Sweet 16 ends in battle of schools

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Sweet 16 ends in battle of schools

By John Joyce
Published in News on September 11, 2012 1:46 PM

A "Sweet 16" birthday party held at the Walnut Creek Country Club on Saturday ended abruptly when a fight between students of Eastern Wayne and Goldsboro high schools allegedly erupted in gunfire.

According to Walnut Creek Village police Chief Ken Barrett, a 911 call went out to Wayne County dispatch at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

"Dispatch then told officers they could disregard the call. No officers made it to the scene," Barrett said.

Barrett said that there was no way to substantiate whether there was actual gunfire, but reports indicated there was an altercation between two people.

"The call came just after I went off duty. Whenever we don't have anyone on duty, all calls go to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office," Barrett said.

Maj. Tom Effler of the Sheriff's Office could not confirm Monday whether deputies responded to such a call Saturday night.

"If the officers were called off, there wouldn't be any reports filed," Effler said.

Calls do get canceled sometimes, Effler explained, but even when they do, he said that officers usually patrol the area where trouble was reported.

One concerned parent, who asked not to be identified, said no law enforcement officers came to the club.

"There were no police. They absolutely did not show up," she said. "Why didn't the police at least show up? Why did the club staff send the kids outside and tell them all to leave when there could have been people with guns lying in wait outside," she said.

According to the parent, whose child attended the party, employees at the club kept the teenagers inside while the fight was going on. When the shots were heard and the fight broke up, the staff released everyone and told them to go home.

"We will be going out to the club Tuesday to follow up," Barrett said.

The country club is closed on Mondays and management was unavailable for comment.

"This is the first fight, or report of weapons, since I've been here," Barrett said.