Sometimes it takes bad things to highlight the good. Case in point: The shooting Friday at Gardenwood Apartments in Rockingham.
The call for help came in at about 4:38 p.m. Law enforcement officers from the N.C. State Highway Patrol, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the Rockingham Police Department swarmed the area. According to the official arrest report, police found their man and, at 5:19 p.m., arrested him — less than 45 minutes after the initial emergency call to 911.
As is often the case within the minutes and hours immediately after such an event, details were few and, from witnesses, sometimes less than accurate. The Rockingham Police Department held jurisdiction on the incident and was awarded the job of addressing the many questions from local and regional media outlets — no small task in and of itself, but consider this job along with the primary goal of serving and protecting while investigating the shooting.
As hours passed and television stations and newspapers, including The Richmond County Daily Journal, began to get a bit anxious as evening deadlines loomed, detectives made sure we had what was needed to inform the public.
Melissa Taylor and Teresa Best, the victims of the shooting, still have a ways to go to recover. The good news is that Carolinas Medical Center reported on Monday that both of them are in “good condition.” Let their recovery continue and let’s hope that both regain their health as quickly as possible.
Shooting suspect Taquan Taheem McDonald, meanwhile, remains incarcerated at Richmond County Jail on a $201,000 secured bond. He’s due on March 13 in N.C. District Court and the process will play out however it does.
Of course, we should keep in mind this incident didn’t only affect the two victims but their friends and family — and the suspected shooter’s as well. Living in a small community like Richmond County, everyone seems to know everyone else’s business. It can’t be easy.
Meanwhile, we owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who put on the uniform each day. Those who wear the badge have a reason to be proud — not unlike any other day, perhaps, but Friday was more visible than most.
To all the law enforcement officers and medical personnel who responded to the event, as well as those who played a peripheral role in event, such as perimeter and landing zone security, we can’t say it often enough: Thank you for your service.