Teen shooting victim’s death mourned at county school

Pedro Ortiz-Perez (Courtesy photo)

Southwestern Randolph sophomore played on soccer team

ASHEBORO – Southwestern Randolph High School has been mourning the loss of 16-year Pedro Ortiz-Perez, who was the victim of a fatal shooting earlier this month.

Ortiz-Perez died May 14 from injuries sustained in the incident near North Asheboro Park, Asheboro police said.

Ortiz-Perez was injured in a shooting May 3 and transported to the emergency room at Randolph Hospital by vehicle with a gunshot wound to the jaw and neck. He was later transferred to UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, where he had remained in critical condition.

Ortiz-Perez was a sophomore at Southwestern Randolph and a member of the boys’ soccer team.

A statement from the boys’ soccer team at Southwestern Randolph said that Ortiz-Perez was “a kind-hearted and enthusiastic young man. His passion for the game was infectious, and he brought a positive energy to every practice and game. … The news sent shockwaves through our team and Southwestern Randolph High School, leaving us devastated and struggling to come to terms with the loss of someone so young and full of life.”

In a statement following the shooting, police said they don’t believe Ortiz-Perez was the intended target.

The suspect, a 16-year-old whose name hasn’t been released by police due to privacy laws, was arrested May 10 in Statesville. He faced charges of attempted murder, discharging a firearm into a vehicle, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill / inflicting serious injury.

The Asheboro Police Department announced that “in light of this tragic development, upgraded charges will be presented to the grand jury for indictment.”

Friends and family gathered last week at the hospital for an honor walk as Ortiz-Perez’s organs were to be donated.

The Randolph County School System superintendent Stephen Gainey released a statement regarding the boy’s death.

“He was dearly loved by his classmates and the staff members at Southwestern Randolph High School as well as many other people throughout our community,” the statement said in part. “It is with extremely heavy hearts that the members of the Randolph County Board of Education and I extend our condolences to Pedro Ortiz-Perez’s family as well as the students, staff members, and community members of Southwestern Randolph High School.”

The soccer team’s statement also said: Pedro may no longer be with us in person, but his spirit lives on in the bonds we’ve formed and the lessons we’ve learned. As we continue our journey, we carry his memory with us, a constant reminder of the impact one person can have on a team and a community.”

Asheboro police have reported that the shooting took place around 9:30 p.m. They responded upon reports of gunshots.

By Randolph Record