Teen Shot by North Carolina Cops 17 Times Survives; Now his Family Wants Answers

Ben Keller

The family of a teenager shot 17 times by North Carolina cops wants answers.

Dezmond Bethea, 18, a high school senior, has survived so far after undergoing eight hours of surgery to treat 17 gunshot wounds courtesy of police.

Wanda Bethea, Dezmond's grandmother, says Laurinburg police aren't telling the family why the officer shot her grandson so many times.

"He's fighting for his life. He’s fighting for his life," Bethea told WPDE.

"And as far as the investigation, we can't say anything, like. The State Bureau of Investigations. It could take a week. It could take a month. It could take whatever. You know, we're still waiting to hear from there. I understand it's going to take some time for this to take place."

Officers responded to a call on Saturday at around 2 a.m. after someone called 911 reporting shots fired near an intersection.

Police say two people were airlifted to a hospital in South Carolina to be treated for gunshot wounds, including Bethea, though it's still unclear if those shootings were related.

And Laurinburg Police Chief Darwin Duke Williams is refusing to say whether or not the shooting was captured on bodycam.

"There were two different calls. Whether they were related or not I can't say for certain, but they were both transported from the same area at about the same time," EMS Director Roylin Hammond stated.

"The calls came in at a little after 2 a.m. and another around 2.30 a.m."

The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident, Chief Williams said.

Bethea says she hopes an officer-invovled shooting like this never happens again.

"I pray that this gone be the first shooting in Scotland County and it'll be the last. But, like I said, I heard about it, I've seen it and I've heard of it. But I never thought my family would be experiencing this today," she said.

"I try to do a lot of things in the community as far as bringing things together, advocating, and this happen to my grand kid. But it's okay. God don't make no mistakes. That's all I know."

Laurinburg police, along with Scotland County EMS, Scotland Rescue, and Laurinburg fire all responded to the incident.

The identity, and condition, of the other victim has not yet been released, according to the Daily Mail.


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