Jacobia English Lane, 37, sprayed with bullets while preparing for her sister-in-law's funeral
Jacobia English Lane had come into town to pay her respects. She drove two hours from her home in another state to make sure she was there for her brother, who needed her encouragement and love.
Her sister-in-law had died and the family had traveled from different areas to lay her to rest and comfort their brother.
But the comfort would be short lived.
The 37-year-old woman from Sumter, South Carolina had made herself comfortable late Friday night and into Saturday about 12:30 a.m. inside her brother's Gastonia, North Carolina home.
Suddenly shots rang out, dishes began exploding, silverware pinged as up to 30 bullets pierced through the window of the home.
Lane suffered a fatal gunshot wound, struck in the back of the head.
Lane's husband barely escaped a bullet. One shot through the pillow that he was sleeping with. A teenager also had a bullet graze his arm, but he's OK, according to media reports.
Family spokesman Christopher Dennis of nearby Charlotte said this type of violence had nothing to do with the family.
“Our family is strong,” Dennis told the Charlotte Observer. “This was a senseless, unprovoked act of violence on a family going through bereavement and is not a reflection of that community or the people who live there.”
Police have no suspects and don't know who would want to hurt the family, especially at such a vulnerable time. But they do know this: The shots fired came from a high-powered rifle.
The brother, whom Lane was visiting, is understandably broken up about the shooting. He has lost a wife, who bravely battled cancer. And now a sister to a senseless shooting.
"She came down because my sister loved my wife," Tim English told the Gaston Gazette. "My sister and my wife were best friends. We were all just standing here having family time. We were remembering the good times we had with my wife."
English said the issue is bigger than his sister.
"Nobody is saying anything about the spike of crime that's happening in Gastonia right now," English said. "The churches are not even saying anything. If they are saying anything, they're saying it in the house, in the church. We've go to get outside these four walls and save our community. We're letting our community escape. Who's doing anything, if it's continuing to happen, nobody's saying nothing," he was quoted as saying.
"We're not going to be silent to violence. It needs to be heard. The government, the mayor, the sheriff, he needs to know that we can't accept this. We can't just sit back and accept our family members dying."
English made this plea to the public, as told the Gaston Gazette: "If anybody has anything, please come forward. Help us help the next person. Help us save someone else because once people kill and get away with it, they think they can get away with it at all times."
Gastonia police are urging anyone with information on the shooting to contact Detective Robert Bryson at 704-866-6702 or Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000. There is also a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest, according to Crime Stoppers.