A Wilmington man pleaded guilty in the death of his alleged co-conspirator, who prosecutors say died after he was caught in a hail of bullets fired by his companions during a January 2014 shooting outside a rival gang member’s home.
Torrance Burns, 19, pleaded guilty Thursday in New Hanover County Superior Court to charges of attempted first-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to discharge a weapon into an occupied dwelling, according to a news release from District Attorney Ben David. He was sentenced to more than 10 years in the N.C. Department of Corrections.
Burns was arrested in March 2014 and charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Raequan Rouse on Jan. 19, 2014. Burns and Rouse, along with co-defendants Dominique Gibbs and Adron Whitted – all of whom are Blood gang members — drove to a home in the 600 block of North 10th Street with guns, David said.
The defendants targeted the home, which was occupied by a rival gang member, David said. The defendants parked the car around the corner, then approached the house. One of the co-defendants threw a heavy object at the front door in an attempt to lure its occupants outside. When no one came out of the house, the defendants shot at the home 21 times, David said. Two homes were reportedly hit by the gunfire.
“During their retreat from the house a bullet from one of the weapons struck Rouse in the neck as he ran past the other three [defendants],” David said. “Evidence suggests that he had not fired his gun and no one from inside the house returned fire.”
The defendants drove away from the area, met with other gang members to dispose of the weapons and then took the injured Rouse to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, David said. With help from hospital police, detectives with the Wilmington Police Department were able to identify Rouse and his alleged co-defendants through surveillance video.
“Nowhere is the lunacy of gangs and gang violence more apparent than this case. It’s appalling that the streets became ablaze in gunfire over insults traded between two gangs,” Assistant District Attorney Timothy Severo said. “This case shows that bullets don’t have names and when you conspire to harm others, you are throwing away your freedom or digging your own grave.”
Gibbs, 17, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to discharge a weapon into an occupied dwelling in July. She was ordered to serve an active sentence more than 10 years in prison.
Whitted, 23, is scheduled to appear in New Hanover County Superior Court on Nov. 9.
Attorney Geoff Hosford represented Burns in the case.