Prayer vigil scheduled for woman shot as family gathered at Gastonia home ahead of funeral

The family of a woman killed when bullets from a high-powered rifle pierced a Gastonia home will hold a prayer vigil in her memory on Sunday.

The vigil is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the home at 938 Nottingham Drive where Jacobia English Lane, 37, of Sumter, S.C., was killed early Saturday.

Lane was among dozens of other family members who gathered at the home before attending the funeral of her sister-in-law, who died of cancer, her family said.

Police have released few details about the killing and have not released the victim’s name. No arrest has been made.

But Gastonia Detective Sgt. Nancy Capistran confirmed to the Observer that about 30 rounds from a high-powered rifle were fired into the home at about 12:30 a.m.

“We currently don’t have enough information reference a motive,” Capistran told the Gaston Gazette.

Lane was sitting on a couch with other family members when one of the bullets shot from outside the home hit her in the back of her head, family spokesman Christopher Dennis of Charlotte told the Observer.

About 25 or 30 people had gathered at the home on the night before the funeral, Dennis said. The funeral was held Saturday in Charlotte.

Lane had driven to Gastonia with her husband and their two children, her family said.

A bullet also struck a pillow on a bed where Lane’s husband was sleeping on the second floor, Dennis said. Her husband was not hurt.

“She’s someone that loves her family, loves her kids, she’s just a loving person,” Timothy English, Lane’s brother, told Observer news partner WBTV.

“She came up here to support me for my wife, when she just died of cancer.” English said. “We all know the battle of cancer, but now we’re dealing with the battle of people with hate in their heart.”

Said Dennis, president of Charlotte’s Lockwood Neighborhood Association. “Our family is strong. This was a senseless, unprovoked act of violence on a family going through bereavement and is not a reflection of that community or the people who live there.”

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the shooter. Call Gastonia police Detective Robert Bryson at 704-866-6702 or Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000.

Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak