• 68°

GRAD Early College senior “keeps going” after incredible loss

Rowan County Early College suffered a huge loss early this school year when senior Jennifer Merriman was shot and killed during a domestic dispute at her sister’s home in Richland.

The loss was hard for everyone, but especially for Garret Hatley, Merriman’s boyfriend.

Hatley and Merriman met in second grade. The two started as acquaintances, became friends in middle school and eventually began dating their sophomore year of high school.

Hatley said he was initially shy when he came to the early college.

“She brought me out of my shell,” he said, adding that she encouraged him to join the Student Government Association.

“As time went on, I got more and more outgoing,” he said.

“She was perfect. She always put others above herself. She just wanted to make everyone happy,” Hatley added.

On Sept. 6, the couple was spending time at Merriman’s sister’s home after school.

“I was getting ready to leave before everything happened,” Hatley said.

The two hugged, and as they were walking out toward, they heard something.

It “sounded like someone dropping a whole tray of glasses,” he said.

“We ducked to the ground,” Hatley said. “I heard someone stomping around and heard shooting.”

Merriman was shot and died later that night.

“I saw it happen, Hatley said.

When he found out she passed away, he was overcome by grief.

“I just broke down right there,” he said. “I basically just cried my eyes out.”

Hatley said he “moped around for a while.”

Going back to school was difficult for Hatley.

When he went to school the following Monday, he had to “hold the tears back the whole day,” he said.

That first semester was especially difficult, he said, adding that Merriman was in all his major classes.

“I still passed everything, but it was tough.

As time goes by, he’s worked to get more involved in school and with friends to overcome his grief.

“I try to be more like her,” Hatley said, adding that he’s learned “you can still keep going” after incredible loss.



Blotter: Two charged after call about package


Salisbury Police investigating two shootings


Chase involving Kernersville man ends in woods behind Carson High School

News Main

North Rowan girls end season with playoff loss to Murphy


Rowan-Salisbury EC department plunges in place after raising $1,300 for Special Olympics


Tiger Woods injured in car crash, has surgery on legs


Local stakeholders set goals, direction to tackle city’s housing issues


RSS board talks future of Henderson Independent School


One new COVID-19 death, 23 new positives reported Tuesday


Concord to create fallen officer memorial featuring Rowan native Shuping


20-year-old man faces rape charges


Blotter: Man charged after shooting gun during argument


UPDATE: Missing Salisbury man found


RSS board votes to use upset bid process on Faith property


Committee to soon accept artist applications for ‘Paint the Pavement’ project


RSS board votes to send elementary students to in-person classes four days per week


County to administer nearly 1,700 vaccines this week


Political Notebook: Rep. Howard named ‘hospitality champion’ by North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association


Blotter: Gunshot fired into home on North Oakhurst Drive


Teenager reported missing in Salisbury


‘Everybody needs an Aunt Libby:’ Family celebrates 100th birthday of Rockwell doctor Elizabeth Lombard

Ask Us

Ask Us: Why is Rowan EMS no longer transporting some patients outside of county?


Blotter: Feb. 21


FAA orders United to inspect Boeing 777s after emergency