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Bill Kirby Jr.: Mayor, City Council members share in colleague’s grief


You could feel a pall Monday evening in the Fayetteville City Council chamber of City Hall.  

An arrangement of flowers adorned the desk of Councilwoman Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, a reminder of Friday night when the councilwoman’s 15-year-old daughter died from a fatal gunshot wound in a Heathcote of West Point subdivision home in west Fayetteville.

“I will ask everyone,” Mayor Mitch Colvin would open the meeting, “ to keep Councilwoman Banks-McLaughlin in our thoughts and prayers.”

The Rev. Archie Barringer would deliver the prayer. He would not forget the councilwoman, either.

“I dare not close without remembering Councilwoman Banks-McLaughlin and her family,” the preacher would say. “Lord, speak to their hearts.” 

The Fayetteville Police Department has not identified the teenager, but the mayor and two other council members say that Coryonna Young, a sophomore at Seventy-First High School, is the daughter of the two-term councilwoman.  

“We are extremely saddened by this news, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones,” Cumberland County Schools said in a statement Monday. “The district’s Trauma and Loss Team is at the school today to provide additional support to students and staff."

Lindsay Whitley, an associate superintendent, said Tuesday that counselors will be at the school as needed throughout the week. 

‘Courtney is like family to us’ 

Coryonna Young had pretty brown eyes.

She had a bright and welcoming smile.  

Officers with the Fayetteville Police Department and Emergency Medical Service personnel responded to a 6:57 p.m. call of a reported shooting along the 2000 block of Maitland Drive on Oct. 21, according to a release from the Police Department, where the teenager was suffering from a gunshot wound. She was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Police Chief Gina Hawkins has said nothing about the shooting, and the Police Department says the death is under investigation by its homicide unit.

“Courtney is like family to us,” the mayor says. “Any time you see a family going through something like this, it’s tough. She seems to be holding up pretty well during this trying time for her, but she is strong.” 

A “very strong woman,” fellow councilwoman Kathy Keefe Jensen says.

“But my heart is broken for Courtney,” Jensen says, “and her family.” 


A licensed funeral director, Colvin says there is nothing worse than for a parent to lose a child, and the mayor has seen his share of grieving fathers and mothers in somber farewells.  

A memorial service is scheduled for Coryonna Treasure Young at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.

She had pretty brown eyes. 

She had a bright and welcoming smile. 

Coryonna Young, it bears repeating, was a mere 15 years old, with so much life to live and so much more in life to give. 

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Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961. 


Column, Bill Kirby Jr., Coryonna Young, fatal shooting