1 man arrested, another sought in 18-year-old’s shooting death at Orange County party

Rashiaya Melton
Rashiaya Melton

One man has been arrested and another is being sought in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old high school student at a party venue, according to the Orange County sheriff.

The U.S. Marshals Joint Task Force arrested Xzavier D’Andre Gibson, 19, in Graham on Tuesday and charged him with murder, sheriff’s officials said in a news release Tuesday afternoon. Gibson is being held in the Orange County jail without bond and is scheduled to make his first appearance in court Wednesday.

Deputies also have issued a warrant for Takeem “Mudd” Haywood Norris Turrentine, 23, of 2416 Glenbrook Drive in Durham. Turrentine, who also is charged with murder, is known to frequent the Mebane area and should be considered armed and dangerous, sheriff’s officials said.

N.C. Department of Correction records show Gibson was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon earlier this year and was on probation at the time of his arrest. Records also show Turrentine was released by Alamance County in June after serving 20 months for attempted common-law robbery.

Rashiaya Melton, a student at Cedar Ridge High School, was shot in the head around 1:24 a.m. Sunday at the Smokehouse Valley Farm, an unsanctioned party venue at 5223 Mill Creek Road in Cedar Grove. She was airlifted to UNC Hospitals and died Monday.

“The death of this young lady is heartbreaking and completely senseless,” Sheriff Charles Blackwood said. “I am proud of my deputies’ continuing efforts to bring Rashiaya’s killers into custody and to have done so with such speed.”

The news comes as Melton’s family is planning her funeral. Chief Deputy Jamison Sykes said the Sheriff’s Office is “beginning to receive more and more information by the hour.”

Murder suspects- Melton
Xzavier Gibson (left) and Takeem Turrentine have been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old Orange County woman at a party in Cedar Grove. Orange County Sheriff's Office

Roughly 150 people were still at the barn when deputies arrived early Sunday, deputies reported. About 300 people had been there earlier for the party.

Gunshots were heard after a fight broke out, according to the sheriff’s office. Melton was found behind the barn with a gunshot to the head.

A second person, who was shot in the leg, was treated and released, according to officials.

Melton’s death came nearly five months after her 8-year-old brother, “Duddie,” died from cardiac arrest at the family’s home in May, according to the family.

Melton’s twin sister also was at the party, a family member said, but was not nearby when Melton was shot.

Her family said Melton had plans to attend North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro after graduation.

Tanya Rodriguez-Miranda, a friend of the teen, remembers Melton as fun-loving and intelligent. They became friends when Melton was a freshman at Cedar Ridge and Rodriguez-Miranda was a sophomore, she said.

Rodriguez-Miranda made sure Melton was her partner in American history class, she said, because Melton would know the answers.

“She was a very outgoing person,” Rodriguez-Miranda said. “She was very funny – kind of like the class clown – (but) she was very smart.”

Rodriguez-Miranda, who lives in Hillsborough, said she decided not to go to the party Saturday night but has attended other parties at the farm in the past. People usually find out about the parties from posts on Instagram, she said.

“Around my senior year, when they were doing the parties, nothing like that’s ever happened.” she said. “This year, they’ve thrown a good four or five parties, and I’ve heard at least three of them have been shot up, but this is the first one that actually had somebody get shot.”

Dwight Poole, the owner of the farm known as Smokehouse Valley Farm, spoke with Blackwood on Tuesday.

According to WRAL, Poole said he is not liable for the shooting, because the people who lease the property sign an agreement that they take responsibility for their events.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926; @TammyGrubb
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