Rash of shootings in High Point believed to be linked to gang-related activity

HIGH POINT, N.C. – A rash of shootings in High Point appear to be related to gang activity, according to High Point police.

The crimes appear to be linked to two groups of people affiliated with gangs in High Point, but police have not named the gangs.

There were four shootings in High Point on Thursday morning, including one that was fatal and another that resulted in a 15-year-old girl being injured.

High Point Police Chief Kenneth Shultz discussed the shootings in a Thursday evening press conference.

Police were called to the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Hines Street at about 3:30 a.m. where Brenda Herbin was found lying at the edge of a home’s driveway. She was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and pronounced dead.

Police investigating that shooting then heard 30 to 40 gunshots and responded to a home 713 Fairview St., about two miles away, at about 5 a.m.

A 15-year-old girl was shot in the foot and injured in that case. More than 60 spent shell casings and at least 40 holes in the home were found, according to police.

There were two other shootings in the city that same morning, but nobody was hurt in any of the others.

On Monday night, officers were called to a home at 701 Thissell St. where 18-year-old Anastasia Ray, who was pregnant, was shot and killed.

Hykeem Marquis Simmons, 21, of High Point, has been charged with first-degree murder in that case.

Chief Shultz released the following statement on the shootings:

While most of these investigations are still in the early stages, information and evidence collected to date, indicate that many of these incidents, as well as others that have occurred over the past two years, appear to be related and are being facilitated by two local groups of individuals affiliated with known gangs here in High Point. The individuals suspected as being involved are the focus of ongoing police investigations. These investigations require extensive work and can be very time-consuming. They are being prioritized by the High Point Police Department and we are diligently conducting the criminal investigations necessary to build solid, legal cases that will best enable the District Attorney's office to successfully prosecute those who are involved. This process is critical as we work to ensure due process and still hold the individuals involved, accountable for their actions.

In addition to our efforts, we also continue to work with our Federal Law Enforcement partners and our Task Force members as well as our local Probation Officers. These agencies are providing both support and intelligence information. From the community standpoint, we have worked with both High Point Community Against Violence and the Burns Hill Community Group where we have provided joint neighborhood responses to update the citizens regarding the incidents and where we solicited additional information.

In addition to the criminal investigations, the High Point Police Department has increased the number of officers working in the areas where the violent incidents have taken place. These officers may be in both marked and unmarked vehicles and their work hours are being adjusted to improve coverage of the identified areas during the times when these incidents have been occurring. Additionally, intelligence gathering efforts are underway as we work to identify and arrest the individuals involved in this violence.

To support our efforts, we ask the public to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity they witness or any information they hear that may provide us with more information necessary to help us with our efforts. With this recent increase in shootings, we would like to point out that we have also witnessed an increase in individuals coming forward with information that they feel may be helpful to our investigations. Whether anonymous, in person or by phone we value each piece of information in our attempts to prevent and solve this violent crime.