DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Fifteen-year-old Ariuna Cotton, a sophomore at Hillside High School who loved to dance and sing, had her whole life ahead of her.
But around 3 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2021, she was shot and killed in a shootout between two vehicles on Mathison Street in Durham, according to court documents.
It’s been almost two months since Cotton was killed, and there is still no word on an arrest.
“I just want the case to go a little faster,” said Ann Applewhite, Cotton’s grandmother. “This is really hurting my heart. The family is not ready to accept it, even though we know that she’s gone, it’s just hard for us to accept.”
Cotton lived with Applewhite, and she said she didn’t even know her granddaughter had left the house the morning she was killed.
“I thought she was upstairs in the bed,” Applewhite said. “I was told that someone told her to come and go to the store for them, and she got in the car with the people to get a ride to the store.”
Police said someone fired shots at the SUV Cotton was riding in along Mathison Street in Durham, which caused the vehicle to crash.
Inside were seven young individuals between the ages of 12 and 19. Six of them were shot.
Cotton and 19-year-old Isaiah Carrington were both killed in the shooting. The four others who were shot survived.
Shortly after the shooting occurred, Durham police told CBS 17 that the SUV the group was riding in was stolen and that they were still investigating what led up to the shooting.
Applewhite said she has no idea why anyone would want to do this.
“We’re still crying and carrying on because we don’t know what happened to her,” Applewhite said. “I’m just trying to figure out what I could’ve done different, what did I not do right to avoid this from happening to her.”
Cotton’s murder isn’t the only one unsolved. As CBS 17 first reported on Tuesday, 52 percent of the homicides in Durham in 2021 have not been solved.
“I think that they need to be moving along a little faster because the same people that did that to her could do it to some other kids or some other people if they don’t hurry up and get them off the street,” Applewhite said.
CBS 17 reached out to Durham police to get an update on where investigators are with the case, but we are still waiting to hear back.