HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Police believe a 19-year-old man may have been the intended target when he was gunned down in his front yard along with three teens, but authorities were no closer to knowing what prompted the shootings.
A neighbor said he and his daughter were awakened early Sunday by gunshots and a girl pleading for her life.
"There was a burst of gunfire, and then there was a small pause, and that's when I heard the girl say, 'Please don't kill me, I'm sorry,'" Michael Thomas said. "And I heard two more gunshots."
No arrests have been made, but several people were brought in for questioning and police searched for clues Monday. The teens were killed early Sunday, the morning after the prom.
The suspected target, Dante Ward (search), would have celebrated his 20th birthday on Monday. Instead, hundreds of mourners gathered outside his home at a vigil, calling for an end to violence in the city. Community members also said they hoped the events might create the urgency to tackle growing drug problems in the area.
"This was a devastating, senseless killing, no matter what transpired beforehand," said Anthony Allen, 44. "What we all need to do now is band together and make sure nothing like this ever happens again."
Hiram Moore, a friend of two of the victims, said residents were shocked because "stuff like that just doesn't happen around here."
Also killed were: Eddrick Clark (search), 18; Michael Dillon (search), 17; and Megan Poston (search), 16. Huntington police believe Ward may have been the intended target and the other three were killed to prevent them from identifying the shooter.
Poston was Dillon's date to his high school prom Saturday night. Dillon's father said he had no idea why they were at Ward's house. Authorities said the two other victims did not attend the prom.
At least nine people were brought in for questioning Monday, five from Detroit, police said. Two were later released; several others were arrested on unrelated charges.
Police Capt. Steve Hall did not rule out that the shooter might already be in custody, but authorities would continue to monitor the nearby state border "until arrests are made or until we have credible information that the individuals are gone."