— Investigators were searching for a suspect and a motive on Saturday after gunfire erupted at a Northampton County birthday party Friday night, leaving one person dead and two others seriously hurt, authorities said.

The sheriff‘s office said the shooting occurred at 11:30 p.m. Friday in Gaston after a fight broke out at the party that was being held at the town‘s civic center on Craige Street.

The venue is rented out and host parties and special events.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the fight.

Family members of the victims said they are all male and all related. They say they don‘t know who the suspect or suspects are. The two victims who were hurt were said to still be in the hospital although their conditions were pending.

The identities of the victims were pending.

“They was screaming, ‘He (is) dead, he (is) dead,” said one woman who spoke to WRAL News about the shooting on condition on anonymity. “It was just terrible.”

Several people started screaming before the gunfire began, and police arrived on the scene a few minutes later.

“The police was running,” the woman said. “They was trying to hide too from the gunfire.”

Neighbors say they moved away from the venue‘s windows to avoid getting struck by gunfire.

“My heart just goes out to the family,” the woman said. “I‘m praying for them.”

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