Teens spray-paint gang signs, fire shots at witness at Rural Hall park

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RURAL HALL, N.C. -- Deputies are investigating after an exchange of gunfire initiated by a group of vandalizing teens took over a park in Rural Hall Sunday afternoon.

Around 4:15 p.m., investigators say people witnessed four teenagers spray-painting a building at Covington Memorial Park. When one of the witnesses yelled at the teens to stop, one of them pulled out a handgun and fired two shots.

“I never thought I’d hear about that happening at this park,” said Rita Cruise, who walks at the park every week.

After the teen fired the handgun, the witness returned fire in self-defense. The teens got into a silver Chevrolet Malibu and drove off. The Forsyth County Sheriffs Office released a picture of the vehicle in the hope someone will recognize it.

Nobody was injured as a result of the gunfire.

“The overarching thing is that people don’t feel safe anymore and they’re fearful of being outside,” Cruise said.

On Monday, a Town of Rural Hall Public Works employee was at the park attempting to remove the graffiti, which deputies confirm is gang-related.

“I don’t know why they’re doing graffiti,” Cruise said, contemplating how to prevent similar events in the future. “Maybe there needs to be something that will occur, or maybe there needs to be more public, community watch, or maybe more engagement with teenagers or people living here. Maybe that will be the outcome.”

Deputies say there was no other damage at the park.

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