Durham man pleads guilty in 2019 gang-related downtown shootout

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A man pleaded guilty in Superior Court to charges stemming from a rolling shootout in downtown Durham in December 2019.

Arlo Smith, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, pleaded guilty in Durham County Superior Court to felony conspiracy to discharge a weapon into an occupied vehicle related to the Dec. 3, 2019, downtown shooting.

He also pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to discharge a weapon into an occupied dwelling for a separate shooting on Dec. 5, 2019.

The cases were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lindsey Spain.

Spain said in court that the shooting stemmed from a gang-related altercation in the Durham County courthouse on Dec. 3.

Durham County deputies learned Smith said he planned to shoot opposing gang members present in court in a social media post.

Following the altercation, the two groups left the courthouse and shot at each other from vehicles going through downtown.

They drove along Pettigrew, Blackwell, and Duke streets during the mid-day shootout.

“Video footage captured Smith leaning out of one of the cars firing a gun. As the gunfire continued, one bullet entered the rear of a vehicle stopped at the intersection of Duke and Chapel Hill streets,” the Durham District Attorney’s Office said.

No injuries were reported. At least five cars were damaged by the gunfire. 

 “It should be noted that this chase ended around Duke Memorial United Methodist Church where several witnesses heard and saw gunfire,” Spain stated in court. “Children from the Duke Memorial United Methodist Church preschool were on the playground when teachers heard the shots fired. Teachers told investigators how they rushed to get the children inside as soon as they heard the gunfire.”

Federal authorities took over the prosecution of two other people charged in the shooting.

Ryan Kenneth Richmond pleaded guilty in federal court on August 11, 2020, while Ravone Washington is awaiting prosecution.

Smith was not prosecuted federally due to his age at the time of the offense.

On each count, Smith, who is now 19, was sentenced to a minimum active sentence of 20 months and a maximum of 36 months.  

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