DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Gunfire continues in different neighborhoods in east Durham and some residents in those communities are calling on the mayor to be more transparent about what’s being done to address the problem with gun violence.
At a city council meeting a week ago, Mayor Elaine O’Neal told city council members that reporters have reached out to her wanting her to comment on the recent gun violence and what’s being done to address it.
“You will probably hear some of them saying, she can’t be reached, or she won’t comment, and I won’t ever, because this relationship that we are building is too fragile to jeopardize,” O’Neal said.
O’Neal said she and other city council members are meeting with community members “behind the scenes” and that efforts are underway to address the problem with gun violence.
But some who have been impacted by the recent shootings tell CBS 17 they want to know more about what’s being done to prevent future shootings.
Teresa Washington said her 21-year-old step-grandson, Israel Njuguna, was shot on Sunday, Feb. 20 outside an apartment complex near the intersection of East Main Street and Angier Avenue.
“He just walked out of his mom‘s house, there was a car sitting on the side right there and they shot him,” Washington said. “He stayed in the hospital until that Wednesday and then he died.”
Washington said she wants the mayor and city officials to be more transparent about what’s being done to address the problem.
While O’Neal said she has been meeting with community members, Washington said she has not seen the mayor or other elected officials in her neighborhood.
“I haven’t seen that woman in this neighborhood since we’ve been over here, I haven’t seen her walking around here,” Washington said.
Charlitta Burruss lives at Edgemont Elms, a public housing community, just down the road from Washington.
Burruss said she continues to hear gunfire in her neighborhood late at night.
“I’m not saying you tell us about every little nook and cranny plan you’re trying to do, but at least keep the community abreast of what you’re trying to do,” Burruss said.
Burruss said that those who are experiencing the gun violence firsthand deserve to know what’s being done to address it.
“There shouldn’t be any hidden agendas,” Burruss said. “What I mean by that, we live here, and we breathe here. I experience gunfire in the back of my house. I’m sitting in my living room hoping a bullet won’t come in through that window. You don’t have to pinpoint your resources, but you can let us know what you’re doing.”
O’Neal said during last week’s city council meeting that she would talk more about crime-fighting efforts when there’s no chance the work she is doing will be jeopardized.
CBS 17 reached out to the mayor’s office for a comment on the community concerns, but we have not heard back.