The home invasion happened shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday on South William Street in Goldsboro, about 55 miles southeast of Raleigh.
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Two masked men broke through the apartment door and demanded money before one of the intruders shot 73-year-old Linda Ellis, reports said.
The child armed himself and shot at the men, causing them to flee the scene.
A short time later, police said they found Khalil Herring, 19, mortally wounded at an intersection nearby. He was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital. Police said evidence was found suggesting he participated in the crime.
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The second suspect remains at large, but no description was given.
The grandmother was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to survive.
Ellis’ son, Randolph Bunn, confirmed to local news media that one of the intruders “shot his grandma ... I don’t know why they shot her.”