Roland Younce

As an animal lover this case bothers me, not just because at least one animal died because two men could not get along, but because the animal was a Pit Bull and seemed to feed into the idea that the breed itself is especially dangerous.  Regardless of the size of a dog, any breed can be "vicious" but they do not become that way all by themselves.  Their treatment and "care" can make any dog mean and scary. We just do not become fearful when a poodle comes after us like we do when a bigger dog does.  I have been around many pit bulls in my life, sometimes without even knowing it for a while, and I have not been around one I feared. I used to have a joke because a friend of mine had a Pit Bull and although I had never been around it he allowed me to walk past him and go to the door of the home. I nicknamed him "Killer."  The vast majority of Pit Bulls I have been around are loving, caring dogs, but again, any breed can become dangerous and in fairness a dog does not know the difference between protection and viciousness sometimes. At any rate, this case is not really about a dog, but as I said, one did die in this story.

It appears that Tony Moore, along with his wife, Amy and their two daughters lived in the neighborhood first in Lenoir North Carolina.  After Roland Younce moved in neighbors say the two began arguing over property lines. Then in January of 2008 Roland Younce's dog bit one (or both) of the Moore's two young children.  I found comments from people around the Internet that this incident occurred because the Moore girls had gone to Roland's house and opened his door.  I cannot verify that was the case however.  Tony Moore attempted to sue Roland Younce for the $1,900 he incurred in medical bills.  It seems that the court sided with Roland, but again there are statements on the Internet that Roland was making payments anyway.

But, things just continued to get worse between the two neighbors.  Over the next 18 months the police were called over twenty times for various reasons, much of it having to do with Roland's dog it seems.  Some of the neighbors claim that the two attempted to get them to take sides but most tried to remain neutral.

On the night of May 27, 2009 a neighbor had returned home with her boyfriend and saw Roland's dog wandering the neighborhood.  She would later say that her boyfriend asked about taking the dog home because she said she knew there would be trouble brewing but she told him she felt it was best just to stay out of it.  Then not long later, at about 11 pm Tony Moore called 9-1-1 saying that the dog was on his porch, had attacked his cat and that he had shot the dog.  He encouraged officers to come quickly because according to more Roland Younce was threatening to kill him and he would not hesitate to shoot his neighbor.  A few seconds later Younce too called 9-1-1 to report the incident and also threatening to kill Moore.

Officer Marty Robbins was on the scene first.  It is unclear if he was still walking up to the house or was already on the porch talking to Tony Moore (who had lost a leg several years earlier and was confined to a wheelchair) and Moore's eight year old daughter, Ashley, when shots rang out.  Robbins was hit in the chest, arm and leg, Tony Moore was shot in the back, shoulder and hip and eight year old Ashley was struck in the back.  The three made their way into the home where more officers were called to the scene with reports of what had occurred.

As more officers arrived and began to carry victims out of the home more shots rang out.  Officer Tom McManus was shot in the arm while remaining officer shot into the woods between the Moore home and Roland Younce's home where the shots had come from.  The SWAT team was called in and the victims were safely removed from the home without any more incident.  

It was apparently a few hours before officers would fully find Roland Younce's body on his property in the wooded area in which they had shot.  An analysis was done and it was determined that the fatal gunshot wounds to Younce were not self inflicted and he had been struck by an officer's gun when they had fired.

Tom McManus would be released from the hospital the following day.  The next day Officer Mary Robbins was released but Tony and Ashley Moore remained for a while.  Younce had shot the using buckshot, meaning that the bullets all but fragmented when they hit.  The officers were lucky they were released so quickly.  Eight year old Ashley seemed to have been hit the worse.  The bullet had lacerated several of her organs.  

Of course there were those who commented on the Internet that said this was all brought on by Tony Moore and that he was the instigator.  In fact, there were rumors that Younce had been involved with drugs and selling them, but again, nothing I could prove or disprove.  I am sure that there was more back and forth from both sides than what is widely reported, there generally is.  However, it is like I stated in an early blog about fighting neighbors, when one takes it too far, in this case, not just shooting at officers but injuring a child, people tend to forget what else happened.  

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