ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY/QUEEN CITY NEWS) — This week, two men charged in connection with a deadly triple shooting in Elizabeth City, N.C. will be back in court. One of the accused men, Ricky Etheridge Jr., will face the death penalty if convicted.

Now, for the first time, the father of a three-year-old killed in that shooting is talking.

Von Pledger gets emotional when he recalls the moment he learned that he would never see his daughter Allura ever again. 

“They told me the car was shot up, and they told me how the car looked and so then I heard three people were killed,” he said. “Then I got another call that my daughter was fighting for her life. And I’m thinking she’s gonna pull through.”

Then, he got the call that she had died.

But it wasn’t just his daughter. Her mother, and Pledger’s girlfriend, 39-year-old De-Shay Berry, was also shot and killed.

The shooting happened around 5 p.m. on December 2. Officers responded to a report of gunshots and arrived to find “several” people with gunshot wounds. In addition to Allura and De’Shay, an 18-year-old male was also killed. Three other people were injured and hospitalized.

When asked how he’s been adjusting without them, Pledger says he hasn’t. 

“I haven’t been adjusting I really don’t know how to go forward right now,” he said. 

Prosecutors, however, know how they want to move forward: with the maximum punishment.  

Etheridge and Terrence Seymore are both charged with three counts of murder. Etheridge is facing the death penalty if convicted.

“It doesn’t make me feel any better,” Pledger told sister station WAVY. “I want justice for both of them, whatever that might be. Him getting the death penalty is not going to bring them back, ya know?”

No matter the outcome of the trial, Pledger says he’s the one in for a lifetime of punishment because he’s not going to see his youngest daughter grow up. 

“I was going to put her in karate,” he added. “She loved to dance. I knew she was going to have a beautiful voice, cause most of the people in my family can sing.”

Pledger says his story should serve as a warning to people who think they can’t be affected by gun violence. Anyone, he says, could lose their loved ones in the blink of an eye. 

“They were just wonderful people,” he said. “They made an impact wherever they went.”

Etheridge’s attorney tells WAVY that this week’s court appearance is a hearing to try to line up experts for the trial, which he expects won’t start until at least next year.