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Editorial: No rest until A’yanna’s killer is found

A year after 7-year-old A’yanna Allen’s  shooting death on Dec. 4, 2016, the public knows little more about this unsolved murder than we did the next day.

There are reasons for this — frightened witnesses, gang involvement and a litany of murders to demonstrate the finality of retribution.

However, neither Salisbury police nor the other law enforcement agencies helping them — nor the district attorney — can rest until they charge A’yanna’s killer and put him behind bars.

An innocent child was violently killed — why? Because someone with a big gun and bigger ego decided to settle a score by spraying a house with bullets. The shots burst through the wall and window, striking that poor child 13 times from head to toe and injuring her grandmother, Shirley Robinson.

A’yanna wasn’t the only person who died that night. Several hours earlier, 22-year-old Sharod Raheen Mathis was gunned down in the parking lot of Firewater restaurant. Police say those involved in Mathis’ shooting are local gang members. The attack on Shirley Robinson’s house may have been payback.

Police now have the help of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the SBI, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to fight gang violence and street crime in Salisbury. Surely all that manpower and skill can bring about justice for a 7-year-old girl.

Salisbury police turned a corner this year, clearing every homicide within days. They’re filling positions, training new officers and getting crucial help from other agencies. Law enforcement can’t take complete satisfaction in that progress, though, knowing that A’yanna’s killer remains at large. Neither can the people of Salisbury.

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