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Gastonia police identify 2 shooting victims; charge suspect

By Fred Clasen-Kelly and Lindsay Ruebens
fkelly@charlotteobserver.com. lruebens@charlotteobserver.com

Gastonia police have identified the two men who were found dead in a parked car Friday.

Police said the victims were Michael Anthony Rice, Jr., who was 24 and from Gastonia, and Jerry Lenneil Richardson, 24, of Kings Mountain. Rice was going to turn 25 June 17, and Richardson just celebrated his birthday last week.

About 8:15 p.m., a man walking on Titman Road near South New Hope Road discovered the bodies, police said. Rice and Richardson had multiple gunshot wounds, according to a release from Gastonia police.

Police arrested suspect Michael Tyler Walters, 18, and have charged him with two counts of murder, the release said. Walters was found inside a house near the vehicle where Rice and Richardson were shot.

Police have not yet said why the shootings happened.

Ruebens: 704-358-5294
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