DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – After a series of drive-by shootings, a Durham neighborhood gathered with police Wednesday at the scene of one of those shootings. Their hope is to curb the violence impacting the city.
“More so than I’ve ever seen in the last, I would say, 10 years that I’ve been here,” said Rita McDaniel, as she sat on her front porch near the intersection of Enterprise and South streets. “Each neighborhood where there’s shootings going on, we need to support the other neighborhoods.”
Once again, she heard the sound of gunshots outside her home Monday evening. Police said two men got shot in the 200 block of West Enterprise Street. It appeared two to three people in a car shot at the men, police said.
It was one of four drive-by shootings that occurred Monday, in which six people got shot.
It happened about a week after 9-year-old Z’yon Person died after getting shot while riding with his family to get snow cones near the intersection of Duke and Leon streets. Police have not announced any arrests.
“There are people that know what happened. Maybe they’re afraid to tell somebody. They need to know they can trust us with that information,” said Major Ed Sarvis, who came to Wednesday’s event along with several other Durham police officers.
A group called “A Chance 2 Change” began organizing the events once a week. Each time, they plan to visit a different community and bring people outside for several hours to try to deter crime.
“If you’re going to be doing a shooting out here, you’re gonna have to do it in front of us,” said organizer Robert Belcher. “I used to be a part of the problem. I used to be an issue for Durham. Having kids, man, it changed my life.”
Maeve Cohen, who lives near Enterprise and South, said she disagreed with a recent decision by the Durham City Council not to hire additional officers as the police chief requested in this year’s budget. In a split vote, council members decided to use part of that funding to give raises to part-time employees.
“That’s been pretty discouraging for us because we do notice when the police are here the violence does decrease,” she said.
City Council Member Mark-Anthony Middleton said there would be benefits to hiring additional officers beyond crime response, noting the city’s population growth and ability to respond to large-scale emergencies.
“It would convey our seriousness. It would give us the moral authority to say that we have done and are doing everything that we possibly can,” he said.
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