As surge in violence continues in Durham, mom recounts close call with stray bullet into son’s bedroom

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – So far this year, 226 people have been shot in Durham and 25 people have died from gunshot wounds, according to Durham Police.

The number of people shot this year is up from 2019. Police said 132 people had been shot between Jan. 1, 2019 and Sept. 19, 2019. Two of the recent shooting victims in 2020 have been juveniles. They include 10- and 17-year-old boys.

.In the last week, CBS 17 has reported on multiple instances where stray bullets have flown into cars and homes that were not the intended target. Among them was an incident Saturday night where someone fired a gun on Fayetteville Street and a stray bullet flew into a student’s dorm room at North Carolina Central University. Fortunately, no one was shot in that incident.

Ashley Canady lives at McDougald Terrace near Sima and Ridgeway avenues. She said early Sunday morning someone fired multiple shots outside her apartment, and a bullet flew into her 11-year-old son’s room.

“It was like I heard some commotion and all of a sudden shots rang out,” Canady said. “I told my kids to get down.”

Canady went to check on all four of her children. The bullet hit her son’s PlayStation, which she said is the spot where her son’s bed used to be.

“It was just the grace of God that he actually just moved his bed,” Canady said. “He could’ve been hit dead in his chest.”

Canady said her 4-year-old daughter was also almost shot while playing outside last month. She argued that this violence has been going on for years and that city officials aren’t doing enough to stop it.

“They can get on the media and be like, ‘Crime is on the rise.’ And yeah, we know crime is on the rise, but what are you going to do about it?” Canady asked.

CBS 17 asked Durham Mayor Steve Schewel what his message is to families who argue that the city is doing nothing to stop the violence.

“What I have to say to those families is two things: One, I really feel for that person,” Schewel said. “If I was in her situation and a bullet had come in to my house, I would be terrified. But it’s not that our police aren’t doing anything and it’s not that our city leaders aren’t doing anything. We are doing everything we can, it’s just a hard problem.”

Schewel said police have beefed up their investigations unit as they have a special team focused on the recent shootings.

He said that the city’s gang reduction group also meets on a regular basis to try to focus on suppressing gang activity and to make sure violent offenders are taken off the streets. Community activist Robert Belcher, who is familiar with gangs in the area, said that the problem goes much deeper than an issue with gang activity.

He argued the city needs to focus on fixing issues with economic disparities in the city.

“I do not feel that Durham has a gang problem,” Belcher said. “We need a situation where felons can get jobs so they can be better parents to these kids that are going the wrong way. That’s what it boils down to.”

Schewel said there are a lot of long-term solutions such as getting to the root causes of the issue with violence that the city needs to address.

“We have to fight it every day and we cannot accept the level of gun violence that we’ve had in Durham this summer and we do not accept it,” Schewel said.

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