DURHAM, NC (WNCN) – Parents in Durham are calling for more to be done to address the problem of gun violence in the city after a bus carrying their children on Monday afternoon had to veer off the road to avoid being struck by gunfire.
As CBS 17 previously reported, gunfire was exchanged between two vehicles outside of the Town ‘n’ Country gas station at the intersection of E Club Boulevard and Dearborn Drive on Monday afternoon just after 4:30 p.m.
Authorities would not say how many shots were fired, but officials with Durham Public Schools said a quick-thinking school bus driver noticed what was happening and veered off the road to avoid driving into the shooting incident.
School officials said there were 18 children on the school bus who attend Durham School of the Arts and the City of Medicine Academy. Authorities said none of the children were hurt and a backup bus was dispatched to take students home.
Michelle Lattimore’s 18-year-old son Camden Mack was on the bus.
“I thank God for protecting the driver, and those children, but this is not OK, this is not OK,” Lattimore said. “It feels like the Wild Wild West.”
Lattimore’s son is autistic and she said he told her what he could once he got home.
“He goes ‘shooting, police officers,’ and he’s making the motion like a gun,” Lattimore said.
Durham Public Schools told CBS 17 that a robocall message was sent out to parents of students from DSA and CMA at 6:17 p.m. after all of the information was collected about the shooting incident and what happened.
But Lattimore told CBS 17 she never received a message from the district.
“I want them to do better in regard to getting information out to the parents,” Lattimore said.
A spokesperson with Durham Public Schools said principals and school counselors also followed up with students and families. In addition, they said they are always working on improving their response.
The latest data from Durham Police show there have been 251 shootings in the city this year, which is up from the 237 the city had this time last year.
“This whole thing with guns and going after each other in the middle of the day and it involving school buses and the public, it’s crazy,” Lattimore said. “Something has to be done about it.”
Lattimore is calling for more action from the city and leaders, as she is asking them to figure out a way to bring more officers to the city and to fund programs that will help steer young people in the right direction.
“Y’all are smart people in those offices with your salaries, let’s get together and do something,” Lattimore said.
Durham Mayor Pro Tem Mark-Anthony Middleton told CBS 17 on Tuesday that this shooting incident shows that gunfire can strike anywhere at any time.
“These bullets don’t have names on them,” Middleton said.
Middleton said he will continue to push for more funding for programs that will address root causes and help steer young people onto the right path.
“It’s really clear that we need to spend money on initiatives and with partners that do things to prevent gunfire from occurring,” Middleton said.