Exactly one year ago, Cape Fear Community College student Joshua Proutey was robbed and fatally shot outside Wilmington’s community arts center. Today, the local man who pulled the trigger was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. Because today’s prosecution transpired from a citizen tip, WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that local law enforcement is working to reverse the stigma of “snitching” in criminal cases.
The emotion in the courtroom was palpable as Josh Proutey’s parents and loved ones stood before their son’s murderer, Quintel Grady. They asked that 22-year-old Grady live by their dead son’s example, and promote good will in prison. Proutey’s family specifically requested that Grady not receive the death penalty. District Attorney Ben David says Proutey’s death strikes a significant chord, as he was an innocent stranger who could have been anyone in the community.
"We need to care as much about the crime that is going on in the housing projects and in the dark corners of this community as in the public square, because we’re only going to solve it when this whole community comes together and understands that these are all of our children, who are dying through gang violence."
David says Proutey, who died at 19, has left a significant local legacy--including a gun buyback program, and the promotion of Wilmington’s anonymous text-a-tip program, which allows citizens to report crime without fear of harmful consequences.
"If we’re to learn from this tragedy, it’s the importance of reporting crime, the importance of holding people fully accountable when they commit them, and to put the resources in place to hopefully prevent some of these tragedies from occurring to begin with."
David adds that Proutey’s friends are producing a video series to encourage young people to end violence in the streets.