Family, friends, community gather to remember 15-year-old shot and killed in Durham

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Emotions were overflowing Thursday evening at the corner of Eugene and Mathison streets in Durham.

“It’s just sad. It’s a lot going on in our city. Seems like the harder that we fight, the harder the streets fight back,” Sierra Sowell said.

Sowell helped put together a vigil in that neighborhood to remember the life of 15-year-old Ariuna Cotton. Sowell is with the crime prevention group New Durham Vision, but said Cotton was also like family.

“Yeah, because I have children and they were very close with her. So, it hit home. Like really, really close this time,” Sowell said.

The Hillside High School student was one of the six people shot while riding in a stolen car Monday morning at the intersection where the vigil took place.

“She was getting back on track. She was going to school. Doing stuff that I was asking her to do,” said Cotton’s grandmother, Ann Applewhite.

Police said Cotton was riding with a total of seven people when someone opened fire at the vehicle, which caused it to crash.

Cotton and 19-year-old Isaiah Carrington were shot and killed.

The other shooting victims are a 17-year-old girl, a 13-year-old girl, a 12-year-old girl, and a 13-year-old boy. Authorities said a 15-year-old boy was also in the car at the time, but he was not shot.

Thursday, police said a pistol was found at the scene. Cotton’s family and friends said they are working to get more information on what happened.

“With people being reluctant to talk to the police in our community it makes it hard, not only for them to help but it makes it hard for us because the bad guys still get to be on the street,” Sowell said.

Elijah Pryor, the father of a 17-year-old girl who was shot, said their family started a GoFundMe page for his daughter Jamya.

Organizers of the page wrote that Jamya would have to learn to walk again.

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