DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Since Friday, seven people have been shot and one person has died in the Bull City.
According to information obtained by CBS 17 from Durham police, the number of shootings in the city are double this summer compared to last summer.
The numbers show that there were 77 people shot in Durham from May 1, 2020 through July 17, 2020.
In 2019, 38 people had been shot from May 1 to July 31.
Several of the victims this year have been wounded or killed in drive-by shootings.
On July 4, 74-year-old Paulette Thorpe was struck and killed by celebratory gunfire on Burlington Avenue.
Tyvien Mclean, 12, died on July 20, almost a week after he was shot in the head when a stray bullet went through his home at Cornwallis Road Apartments.
Twenty-three-year old Blaine Thomas was hospitalized after he was critically wounded in a drive-by shooting in the 2800 block of Crest Street Friday around 10:15 p.m.
Thomas is a student at Duke Divinity School and his family and friends said he was just helping his neighbor when he was shot.
“He was helping his neighbor get some locked keys out of their car,” said Rajeev Tiwari, Thomas’ friend and classmate at Duke.
Police said an unknown suspect drove up and started shooting. Thomas was struck in the stomach.
“I was just really scared, the world kind of stopped for a second when I heard that Blaine was shot,” Tiwari said.
The first couple of days were critical, but Thomas’ family said he is now in stable in condition.
“It makes you question why is it so easy for these things to happen?” Tiwari said.
CBS 17 reached out to Durham police about the recent spike in shootings, but no one was available to speak on camera on Tuesday.
However, authorities said in an email many different factors and variables affect the increases and decreases in these types of incidents.
Durham police said that investigators are working diligently to bring all suspects to justice and they are constantly identifying and implementing measures to prevent further violence.
Durham City Councilman Mark Anthony Middleton said that the city needs to treat this as a state of emergency.
“I will say that COVID-19 has really exasperated a lot of the issues that are already plaguing our community and communities of color,” Middleton said.
Middleton said one thing city council is considering doing to address the problem, is putting city money toward expanding the county’s violence interrupter program.
Middleton said violence interrupters are trained workers who go out in the community and help those who are at risk of committing crimes.
“We need to throw every tool we have as a government at this issue,” Middleton said.
If anyone has any information about any of the recent shootings, Durham police ask you to call Crimestoppers at 919-683-1200.
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