74-year-old woman killed by Fourth of July ‘celebratory gunfire,’ police say

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DURHAM, NC (WNCN) – Authorities say a 74-year-old woman died after she was struck by celebratory gunfire at a Fourth of July celebration Saturday night.

Officers responded to a reported gunshot incident around 11 p.m. Paulette Thorpe was transported to the hospital, where she died a short time later.

Officials said the shooting was a result of celebratory gunfire and remains under investigation.

“Last night, as people throughout Durham peacefully celebrated the July Fourth holiday with their friends and family, a small few chose to put our community at risk by carelessly firing guns into the air,” said Durham Police Chief Cerelyn Davis. “This reckless behavior led to the tragic death of Ms. Paulette Thorpe. Ms. Thorpe’s death reminds us that we as a community must work together to prevent these senseless acts so that no family suffers such a tragedy ever again.”

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