DA: Man charged in boy’s murder is ‘most dangerous type of person in Durham’


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The 24-year-old charged with shooting a 9-year-old boy to death in August appeared in court on Wednesday where a prosecutor said he is a known gang member who has a pattern of violence against women and children.

Z’Yon Person was shot and killed while riding in a car on August 18 near the intersection of North Duke and Leon streets.

Zyon Person

Nathaniel “Lil Tony” Davenport Jr. was charged Tuesday at the Durham County Jail, where he was already being held on charges from a prior domestic violence case.

He appeared before a Durham County judge where an assistant district attorney described Davenport as the “most dangerous type of person in Durham.”

“He’s a known gang member. He continues to violate pre-trial release by carrying a gun and using it. His pending charges show a pattern of dangerousness against women and children,” the prosecutor said.

He is accused of abusing his own infant child.

The prosecutor said Davenport applied for a passport following the shooting.

Davenport was charged multiple times earlier in 2019 on domestic violence charges in both Durham and Wake counties.

Davenport was arrested Aug. 7 in Wake County for assault on a female, interfering with emergency communications, and a charge of communication threats out of Durham.

He was arrested again in Wake County on Sept. 27 for electronic monitoring violations.

Davenport was arrested in Wake County on Aug. 7, 2019.

Davenport received a court-appointed attorney.

The Durham County District Attorney’s Office asked Davenport to be held on a no bond and the judge agreed.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, it was recommended that if there was going to be a bond amount set, it should be $6 million.

Brief applause broke out following the judge’s bond announcement.

“Even if it wasn’t intentional, why are you riding around shooting people? Shooting up cars in the first place?,” asked Z’yon’s grandma Sandra Person.

Davenport was part of a hip hop group “83 Babies,” who were featured by Billboard as recent as May.

“It’s hard to look folk in the face and say we’re doing everything we can,” said Durham council member Mark-Anthony Middleton.

Councilmember Middleton’s pushing for change.

He wants to bring in shot spotter technology, more officers, discuss a task force for violence and take on more initiatives.

“Since Z’yon’s death, shootings have continued, gunfire has continued in our city,” said Middleton.

Although Z’yon’s accused killer’s behind bars, the heartache remains.

“It’s gratifying but it’s not celebratory,” said Middleton.

An 8-year-old boy was also shot – he suffered a gunshot wound to his arm during the incident. He was treated at the hospital for his injuries and released.

Z’Yon’s grandmother, Sandra Person, said she is still heartbroken by the loss.

“Physically he’s not going to be here, but he is in our hearts forever,” Person said.

Person said this Saturday would have been Z’Yon’s 10th birthday.

Instead of throwing him a party, his family’s going to court hoping to get justice.

“My little man couldn’t even make it to the age of 10, it just hurts so bad,” she said.

But Person said she is relieved to know that an arrest has been made.

“This is like, a happy cry, I can smile to know that somebody is in custody for doing what they did to my baby, to my grandchild,” Person said.

Person said she still wants to know why multiple shots were fired into the car her grandchildren were riding in.

In addition, she thinks there are more suspects out there.

“If there is one more or many more (suspects), they need to be brought to justice as well,” Person said. “Because if you were driving a car you’re just as guilty as the person who shot the gun.”

But for now, she is thankful that one person has been charged.

“This is the day I’ll never forget, and there are other days to come with other information,” Person said. “I guess it’ll get a little bit easier but it will never be forgotten. Z’Yon will never be forgotten.”

The arrest resulted from an investigation by the Durham Police Department’s Homicide Unit and the FBI’s Raleigh Durham Safe Streets Task Force, which includes task force officers from the Durham Police Department and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

“Our officers and investigators, with support from concerned and engaged community members, will continue the fight against gun violence in our city,” said Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis.

Davenport is charged with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Felony conspiracy to commit murder
  • Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious bodily injury
  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • Five counts of attempted first-degree murder
  • Two counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied property causing serious injury
  • Three counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle/residence

The investigation is still active and ongoing.

Anyone with further information is asked to call Investigator Cramer at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29284 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves. 

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