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‘Aggressive panhandler’ who harassed a man for cash ends up being shot, NC cops say

Eric Ryan Gurtler, 33, suffered minor injuries and faces charges of panhandling and simple assault. New Hanover County Jail photo.
Eric Ryan Gurtler, 33, suffered minor injuries and faces charges of panhandling and simple assault. New Hanover County Jail photo.

An “aggressive panhandler” who allegedly went over the top asking a man for money ended up shot Monday outside a restaurant in downtown Wilmington, reports TV station WWAY.

The panhandler, identified as 33-year-old Eric Ryan Gurtler, suffered only minor injuries and now faces charges of aggressive panhandling, simple assault and probation violation, according to New Hanover County jail records.

Terrin Horton, 30, was identified as the man who shot Gurtler outside the Beer Barrio restaurant on North Front Street, according to the Wilmington Star-News.

Horton, who has not been charged, told police the two men got into a fight about 9 p.m. after Gurtler continued “harassing him and demanding money,” the Star-News said.

The shooting occurred after Horton walked to his vehicle, where he was allegedly “attacked” by Gurtler, reported the Port City Daily.

Gurtler was treated for his injuries at an area hospital and arrested after being discharged, the Port City Daily said.

“Multiple witnesses backed up Horton’s account” of the attack, according to WECT.

WWAY reported witness Justin Sartain said he saw a man walking around a vehicle and harassing the man inside.

“An altercation popped out and he came out of his car and shot the guy, which grazed him on the arm,” Sartain said, according to WWAY.

It is natural to want to help people in need, but experts say giving cash to panhandlers may not be the best method. A better way to help is by donating to local charities designed to work with the homeless.

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