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Burlington parents call for more positive outlets after 15-year-old shot

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Burlington's North Park is a summer hot spot for families. The pool, the basketball courts, the library and farmer's market are just some of what the park has to offer.

But despite the family friendly feel, folks in the area aren't surprised at news of a shooting in that part of town.

"You can't predict when these things will happen, but you know we really don't want them to happen," said Greg Ince, who's lived in the neighborhood around the park for about five years now.

Around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Burlington police responded to a 15-year-old being shot in the back corner of the park, in a tucked away parking lot.

"They're not even old enough to have a license yet, and they're out here with firearms and weapons," said Sergeant Drew Garringer with Burlington's Gang and Violent Crimes Unit.

Sergeant Garringer says the victim is expected to be okay after being shot in the upper chest near the shoulder. He says the victim and witnesses aren't cooperating with giving identities of suspects to police.

"What we have found out is that this was not random at all," Sgt. Garringer said. "That the shooter and the victim likely know each other."

Sergeant Garringer says while police don't know the exact purpose of the meeting, it was likely for criminal activity.

Parents are concerned with the trend of young people engaging in this behavior, saying there aren't enough things to keep young people engaged in a positive way in the area.

"If we all come together and try to give these kids an outlet, we need more outlets, more positive things in the neighborhood," Ince said.

One of those positive things kicks off next week. Burlington's Junior Police Academy, where school resource officers work with high school students for a week of camp and training.

"They have stress management, anger management, goal settings," Sgt. Garringer said, naming a couple of benefits to the Academy.