Durham families with homes, cars riddled by bullets demand city do more to end violence

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Hawa McGill was at work on Monday night when her oldest daughter called her to tell her there was a shoot-out outside their apartment on Avon Lake Drive in south Durham.

“She said, ‘what do I need to do?'” McGill said. “I said, ‘get your brother and get your sister, and go in the bathroom and lay down on the floor until I can call you and tell you when to get up.”

Durham police said two different groups were shooting at each other in the parking lot when one man was killed, and another was injured.

Multiple apartments and cars were struck by gunfire during the shoot-out, and an innocent woman was shot and seriously injured while in her apartment.

McGill said thankfully her apartment was not struck by gunfire, but her sister’s car was riddled with bullets.

“I would like the city leaders to actually get on top of this,” McGill said. “I don’t know how much they’re doing, but I can tell you right now as far as this neighborhood goes, it’s not enough here.”

This shooting is one of more than 218 incidents that have occurred since the beginning of the year in Durham. So far this year 66 people have been shot and 12 of those individuals have died.

Shooting incidents and the number of people shot this year are almost as high as they were this time last year, and the number of homicides has doubled. This time last year 6 individuals had been shot and killed.

Last year, the city of Durham saw a record number of shootings with a total of 966 shooting incidents and 318 people who had been shot.

So what are city leaders doing to address the problem with gun violence?

In November 2020, Durham Mayor Steve Schewel held a press conference calling for more after school programs and for the legislature to pass stricter gun laws and provide more funding for mental health services.

Schewel also said that Durham Police had created a centralized investigative unit focused on the recent shootings.

Since the press conference five months ago, 110 more people have been shot and 25 more individuals have died.

CBS 17 asked Durham City Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton if the city’s current efforts to prevent future shootings are working.

“If you’re asking me if I think we’ve done everything we can at the local in the city, the answer is no,” Middleton said.

Middleton said if council approved a six-month free trial of ShotSpotter technology, this could help speed up police response times to shootings and lead to more arrests.

But right now, not everyone on council is on board with this idea.

Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson told CBS 17 via text that she would rather invest in other crime prevention strategies like violence interrupters and diversion programs.

Durham City Council approved spending almost $1 million to hire more violence interrupters to serve as mediators in the community in hopes of bringing crime down.

However, those individuals have not been hired yet.

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