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Family seeking info in man's shooting death

Shooting follow-up Ronald Taylor.jpg

Ronald Taylor, 51, was shot to death in Edenton, Saturday, Aug. 23. Police and the State Bureau of Investigation are investigating his murder.

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By Miles Layton
Chowan Herald

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

EDENTON — Family members of a man shot to death in Edenton say he didn’t deserve to die the way he did, and they’re asking anyone with information about his death to come forward and contact them.

Both Edenton police and the State Bureau of Investigation continue to investigate the shooting death of Ronald Taylor, who was gunned down in the 200 block of East Church Street on Saturday, Aug. 23. Taylor, of 313 E. Church Street, later died of his injuries at Vidant-Chowan Hospital. 

Police Chief Jay Fortenberry said Taylor may have known the person who shot him multiple times, but so far police have not been able to make an arrest. A cash reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in Taylor’s shooting.

Maria Ferebee-Capehart, who says she was once Taylor’s common law wife, said her family is hopeful someone will come forward with information about what happened to Taylor.

“We are looking for closure,” Ferebee-Capehart said. “People are very very upset. Ronald had a lot of love out there from a lot of people. Everyone knew him, so a lot of people are upset. ... His family is devastated. He was a grandfather, father, uncle, a brother — he belonged to someone.”

Taylor’s daughter, Lace Ferebee, also is hopeful police will make an arrest.

“He deserves justice for his murder and people need to speak out if they know something,” Ferebee said. “No one is safe with killers out on the loose.”

Both Ferebee-Capehart and Ferebee recalled Taylor as someone who, while he had a few scrapes with the law, was never violent and never hurt anyone.

“Ronald never hurt anybody,” said Ferebee-Capehart, who had three children with Taylor when they were together as a couple many years ago. “Everyone in Edenton knew who he was. (His shooting) was a vicious attack that was personal.”

Ferebee also said her father didn't deserve what happened to him.

“He wasn't a violent man,” she said. “He wasn't a threat to anyone. He had a lot of support and love from family and friends. His birthday was last week.”

Taylor, who was 51, was born and raised in Edenton. He graduated in 1985 from John A. Holmes High School where he was active in sports and admired by his peers.

“Ronnie was very popular in school. Handsome. Had it all,” Ferebee-Capehart recalled. “He played basketball, had a job, a home, a nice car. He had it going on. Very popular. He dated a good looking girl then. He had a lot going for him.”

Ferebee recalled her dad as someone who was well known and well liked, and who always put his family first.

“He was very loving and caring for his family,” she said. “Everyone in town knew him. He was born and raised there. Edenton is all he knows. He was always very well kept and handsome. He wanted the best for us always.”

Ferebee-Capehart said life got tougher later on for the man she started dating when she was 16 and was with into her late 20s. She said while Taylor had served jail time periodically for convictions on drug charges, he was never arrested for a violent crime. 

“After high school, Ronald's life sped out of control,” Ferebee-Capehart said. “He got up with the wrong people, but he was always always a good person. He would always put people in front of him.”

When Taylor was released from prison about six months ago, he was on probation and trying to get his life back in order, she said. 

But his life ended when someone decided to shoot him multiple times as he was biking home to his apartment on East Church Street.

Both Ferebee-Capehart and Ferebee were shocked when they learned of Taylor’s death.

“Around midnight, I was in my garage,” Ferebee-Capehart said. “My husband Darius said, 'you need to come to bed.' I asked, 'what's wrong?' When he said come inside twice, I knew it was bad. That's when he told me Ronald had just been killed. I just lost it. It was a shock; one of the worst shocks I'd ever had. I was numb. I couldn't sleep that night. It was eating at me. I didn't know what to do. I was sick. It was the worst feeling of my life.”

Ferebee said she received a phone call from a family member the night her father was murdered.

“Yes, it was a total shock because he was not violent,” she said. “He was not harmful in any way. No, I have not slept since that night. I stayed with my grandmother and was paranoid that someone may come shooting there. I stayed up all night startled and frightened. I don't feel safe visiting my hometown anymore.”

Ferebee, who is now 26 and lives in Charlotte, lived in Edenton and attended schools in Chowan County before her family moved away after she finished the seventh grade.

“Growing up in Edenton, there was no gun violence,” she said. “Maybe there'd be fights, but no shooting. My dad was killed outside of his own cousins' house. A relative of ours lives in that house as well as next door.”

Ferebee blames drug dealers and the increasing use of guns for her father’s death.  

“They need to get the guns off the street,” she said. “These guns I am sure are obtained illegally. The drug dealers all need to be behind bars. Edenton will never been safe again.”

Ferebee says it doesn’t matter what her father’s differences were with the person who shot him, he didn’t deserve to be shot down and left to die in the street.

“No one deserves to die in that manner,” she said. “No matter what transpired between him and the gunman. He did not deserve to die like that.”

She also wonders why, given all that is happening in the world, someone chose to gun down her father.

“There are people out here fighting (against) whites killing blacks and not being treated as equals, but blacks are out here killing each other,” she said. “How can anyone take the black race serious when we fight for rights we don't even acknowledge and respect?”

Ferebee said there are “suspects and names being thrown out there” who police believe may be responsible for her father’s shooting. She believes her dad was “murdered by someone in Edenton who is well known.” And that’s why it’s important for someone who knows something about the crime to come forward, she said.

“My family would like to speak out and ask that anyone with information come forward about our dad Ronald Taylor's death,” Ferebee said. “We know people are talking and there are witnesses that are too afraid to speak out — (they’re) fearful to speak directly to the police. We want them to talk to us.”

Anyone with information about Ronald Taylor’s shooting is asked to call Sgt. Laura Wilkins of the Edenton Police Department at 482-5144. All information will be kept confidential, police say. 

“We want your information, not your name,” Fortenberry said.

To reach Ferebee, find her social media page on Facebook at Lace Ferebee.  

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