7-Year-Old Killed After Being Shot In Apparent Road Rage Shooting


HICKORY, NORTH CAROLINA – A child was killed in a shooting that was apparently sparked by road rage on Wednesday night.  Police say the incident occurred shortly after 11 p.m. on Tate Boulevard SE near the First Plaza office building.

Police Chief Thurman Whisnant called the shooter a coward during a Thursday morning news conference in which surveillance video footage taken just moments before the tragic moment was shown to the media. He promised the community that his department is doing everything possible to find those responsible.

Catawba County dispatchers received a 911 call just after 11 p.m. about a shooting on Tate Boulevard SE in Hickory. When officers arrived, they located a car and found 7-year-old Zakylen Greylen Harris, who had been shot in the neck. He was rushed to Catawba Valley Medical Center, 2 ½ miles away, where he later died despite the life-saving efforts of medical professionals.

Zakylen and his younger brothers, ages 6 and 1, were passengers in a car being driven by their mother. Zakylen was the only one of the four that was injured. The mother told police that she believes that she cut the other driver off…not intentionally…but cut them off.  She heard yelling as the other vehicle passed her on the left. She did not hear a gunshot but saw a flash and noticed that her back window was broken. She then realized that her son had been shot in the neck and then called 911.

The mother described the suspect vehicle as a small, dark-colored SUV that was last seen speeding east on Tate Boulevard SE, possibly with several occupants. According to her, the person in the front passenger seat may have been a white woman with blonde hair. Investigators think another occupant of the vehicle may have reached around that woman to fire the shot that took Zakylen’s life.

During Thursday morning’s news conference, police showed the video, in which the mother’s car could be seen turning right off 15th Street into the eastbound lanes of Tate Boulevard just before the suspect vehicle approaches the intersection. As the two vehicles continue east, brake lights can be seen before the cars go out of camera range.

Local media was reporting that the mother had just got off of her second-shift job and picked up the children from a baby sitter, but police could not confirm that at press time.

Extra counselors were at Southwest Primary on Thursday where Zakylen was a second grader.  Students there have had an unusually tough year, as they also lost two classmates in February when a brother and sister died in a house fire.

About the Author

Edgar Lee is a contributor for Concealed Nation. After spending 20 years in the fire service, he is currently in his second career as a business and technology manager, and he and his wife are successful small business owners.

Outside of work his interests include camping, hiking, fishing, metal detecting, home improvement projects and motorcycling. He also enjoys reading biographies and auto biographies, military history, and writing about modern-day personal safety and security. He has visited much of the continental US, but still considers his home state of North Carolina as his favorite.

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