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Student Death Raises Partying Fears

November 25, 1998

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Partying into the wee hours is nothing new on Brent Road. Only now, there are grim overtones to the revelry following the shooting death of a North Carolina State student.

Marcia Bennett was awakened Tuesday night by a couple of dozen students drinking in a back yard facing hers. The carousing came just 48 hours after a similar party ended with one student dead and 10 people facing varying charges.

``I couldn’t believe they would have a party after such serious events during the weekend,″ Bennett said. ``I was just absolutely appalled. That’s not the way I grieve.″

Bennett and other residents are hoping Sunday’s death of Neil Davis Jr. will lead to more constructive steps to curb the increasingly frequent and rowdy partying on Brent Road.

An N.C. State wrestler is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Davis’ death, and three football players face felony charges including breaking and entering and assault. Six other people, including another wrestler and three female gymnasts, are charged in connection with the shooting.

School officials said the three football players were dismissed from the team and their scholarships revoked, while the two wrestlers and three gymnasts are barred from participating in team activities.

Davis was shot with his own pistol after he fired at a house across the street where the athletes were partying. His funeral was held Wednesday in Fayetteville.

Brent Road residents are calling on university administrators, city officials, campus and Raleigh police, landlords and even students to put the brakes on the parties.

``Moving away isn’t part of the solution,″ said city councilman Benson Kirkman. ``I’m still hoping we can maintain a real neighborhood over here with that diversity.″

Kirkman lives at the upper end of Brent Road, up the street from the heavy student population, but he still hears the parties and makes his way through the trash and traffic.

``Almost any given night you can find some kind of social involving alcohol,″ he said.

Bennett said students often behave as if they own the neighborhood. Some apparently have police scanners, and shut down the music and turn off the lights if an officer is dispatched. Sometimes, the students simply move the party a few doors down.

Kirkman said he has spoken about the Brent Road parties with chancellor Marye Ann Fox. He said they agreed that appealing to landlords and property managers to impose a code of conduct on student-tenants could help rein in the freewheeling social scene.

City Council member Julie Shea Graw suggested that having students’ off-campus transgressions show up in their campus records might help.

According to Raleigh police, Sunday’s shooting on Hunters Club Drive and the annual back-to-school Brent Road bash stand out as the exceptions in what otherwise is a relatively quiet neighborhood.

``When my platoon has been working, I don’t recall anything of a serious nature happening over there,″ said police Capt. D.A. Inman.

Hunters Club Drive was quiet Tuesday night, with students preparing for Thanksgiving.

``Everybody’s still trying to figure out what happened,″ said resident David Kapella.

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