DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham police are asking for the public’s help in gathering more information about a shooting in May that left who they believe was an innocent bystander dead.
“We value the assistance of citizens who are willing to provide critical information which can help in solving shooting incidents,” said Joel Turner, an investigator with the Durham Police Department.
The shooting happened on May 12 in the area of the 3300-block of Dearborn Drive.
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Police said officers got a call about a man down shortly after 9 p.m. When officers got to the scene, they found a man who had been shot.
The victim, who was identified as J.C. Jones, 52, of Durham was taken to the hospital where he died from at least one gunshot to the back, according to police.
Authorities said at a press conference on Tuesday their investigation has led them to the conclusion that Jones was likely “an unintended victim” in the shooting.
A small memorial with flowers, a New York Yankees ball cap, chips, and drinks sits at the intersection of Dearborn Drive and Martin Street where Jones was shot and killed.
According to police, Jones was standing at the bus stop in front of Two Brothers convenience store at the intersection of Dearborn Drive and Martin Street when multiple shots were fired from a passing car.
Jones was shot in the back in the hail of bullets, police said.
“Through the course of my investigation, I have not found any evidence that would indicate that Mr. Jones was the intended target of the shooting,” said Investigator Joel Turner with Durham Police.
Since the shooting, police investigators “have viewed several video tapes from the area and believe the suspect vehicle is possibly a silver or gold 2005-2008 Acura TL.”
Police said the videos show that “The shots were fired by a passenger in the rear of the vehicle as the vehicle, which was headed north on Dearborn Drive, approached Martin Street. Investigators believe the vehicle turned onto Old Oxford Highway and then turned north on North Roxboro Street following the shooting.”
Investigators said they now believe the same Acura TL was involved in another shooting on Craven Street near Martin Street just before Jones was killed. Shots were heard in the area, but no one was injured during the incident, officials said.
As the investigation continued, investigators found that “a group of three to four males in a dark-colored sedan pulled in behind the Two Brothers convenience store and parked on the east side of the building” just moments before Jones was shot.
“As these men exited their vehicle and walked toward the front of the store, the shots were fired from the passing vehicle. At this time, it is unclear if these men were the intended targets of the shooting,” police said.
Jones is one of 19 people shot and killed in Durham this year. So far this year in Durham 114 have been shot, which is the same amount shot at this time last year, which was a record-breaking year for the city.
The latest data from Durham Police showed that only 15 percent of shooting incidents in Durham so far this year had been solved, and 11 percent of the shooting incidents last year had been solved.
Salah Moustafa works at the Two Brothers Convenience Store on Deaborn Drive where Jones was killed.
The building is riddled by almost a dozen bullets from recent shootings.
He said he often has to take cover as they hear gunfire on a regular basis, and sometimes bullets do fly in the store.
“I’m ducking on the floor because I’m trying to be safe,” Moustafa said. “All the customers duck in the floor.”
Police are still investigating if the homicide is gang related.
“It hurts that you hear about these senseless crimes in the Bull City, but then it knocks on your front door,” Jones’ family said in a written statement. “If someone knows or heard something or saw anything, come forward.”
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Investigator Turner at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29532 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.