05/24/08 173 W - + 10 - 17 Sniper Kills Three at North Hills Mall

Looking through a stack of clippings from the Seventies finds the account of May 29, 1972, Memorial Day weekend, when a sniper killed three and wounded eight others (one critical, three serious) before turning his rifle on himself. The shooting started about 12:05 p.m., and lasted from four to six minutes. The gunman stood in the parking lot, in front of Ronson's and beside the mall entrance. U.S. Sen. B. Everett Jordon was also at the mall, making a "handshaking visit," and had gone inside just prior to the shooting. His presence was unrelated to the shooter's motive. One car crashed into a couple others, as the window was shot out, though the driver uninjured. The extent of the response to the incident isn't noted, beyond that 8 of 10 city detectives were working on the case. And that the fire department was summoned to clean the scene. The 22-year-old young man purchased his 10-shot, semi-automatic .22 rifle at Thorne's Hardware Store on South Street at 10:30 a.m. that morning.

Being that it happened in 1972, not many people know about it outside of Raleigh. If it happened today, it would be around the country (if not the world) by 1230. RFD E9 went to clean up the blood. Beacon Ambulance sent several ambulances out, along with RFD R-1. I was fourteen at the time (yes, I’m getting old). My girlfriend called me that night and told how their teacher at Carroll Jr High would not let them leave the classroom.

A friend of mine at what was then Aycock Jr High had a sister that had dated the shooter for a while just before the incident.

Amazing how back then you knew a lot of people all over the city.
DJ (Email) - 05/24/08 - 15:37

We lived in Wendell at the time, about 20 minutes outside of Raleigh. My mother took me (age 6) and my older sister (age 9) to the mall to shop several days after, and I remember that there was still blood on the pavement. It really scared me, and I remember her being really upset because she had not realized that there would still be remnants of the shooting, and I remember her covering my sister’s eyes with one hand, holding my hand with her other hand and telling me to just close my eyes and follow her into the mall. It must have really made an impace because today, at 44 years old, I still remember the incident.
Angie O'Neal (Email) - 10/20/10 - 23:15

I was there that day, working at Ivey’s. One woman who worked in my department went up to meet her newly wed husband for lunch. As he drove up he was shot he the head and did not survive. another man stumble into the jewelry section, front door of Iveys and fell to the floor.
rhea - 07/26/12 - 19:28

The guy in the car who was meeting his newlywed wife for lunch, was Melvin Harrison Jr. He was my cousin. originally from New Bern,NC he went to school at NC State .
Galax,va - 07/27/12 - 13:32

Mel was my best friend. He pledged Sigma Pi at NCSU, and I was his big brother there. His wife was named Brenda, who yes worked at Ivey’s. He went to pick her up for lunch. It was just supposed to be lunch with his beautiful young wife.

He and Brenda were my good friends. I maintained contact with her for a while. She came to my wedding, as I recall. She later remarried, and I lost contact.

My sincere best wishes to her for a happy and fulfilled life.
Ken Butler (Email) - 11/11/12 - 23:35

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