Warrant: Dad saw black Jeep, ‘bluish’ car; mom noticed ‘weird’ man before kids shot at Durham Burger King

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A child who was shot while in the car with her family on a Burger King drive-thru line called 911 to report she and her toddler brother were injured while her parents rushed them to the hospital last week, a warrant obtained by CBS 17 reveals.

According to the sheriff’s office, the shooting occurred at approximately 7 p.m. Thursday near the Burger King in the 1600-block of U.S. Route 70 in Durham County.

The two children were sitting in the back seat when a bullet was fired through the front passenger-side window of the vehicle and hit them.

The warrant shows that the children, 11 and 2, were both struck by the bullet. The 11-year-old girl was shot in the shoulder and the 2-year-old boy was hit in the hand.

According to the warrant, the father of the children told investigators he was ordering dinner when he noticed a black Jeep and “bluish car” on Sherron Road and then heard three to four gunshots immediately after.

The warrant shows that the father checked on everyone in the car after hearing the gunshots and that’s when he saw that the children were shot.

The family immediately left the area and took the children to Duke Regional Hospital, officials said. The children were later transferred to Duke Hospital.

Immediately after the shooting, a Burger King employee called 911 and reported that she heard three or four gunshots near the drive-thru line and saw what she thought were muzzle flashes coming from a vehicle on Sherron Road, which runs parallel to the restaurant.

While responding to the scene, Durham County Communications received another 911 call, this time from the 11-year-old victim, the warrant says.

Investigators arrived at the Burger King to look for a crime scene but were unable to locate any shell casings or scene, documents show. Investigators tried to obtain surveillance video from the restaurant, but employees had difficulty accessing the video.

One deputy stayed at the Burger King while another went to the hospital to interview the children and their mother, who was in the front passenger seat, the warrant says.

The mother told investigators “that she noticed a man on the sidewalk between Burger King and Sherron Road acting ‘weird’ (throwing punches at the air)” and “at that exact moment…she heard about three to four gunshots” and the toddler began to cry.

The 11-year-old girl told her mother that “she had a bullet ‘hole’ on her shoulder, but she was not bleeding from it.”

Investigators believe the family was not the intended target of the shooting.

Although the father reported seeing two vehicles at the time of the shooting, the sheriff’s office has not confirmed any official suspects or suspect vehicles at this time.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Detective Gould with CID at 919-560-0880 or communications at 919-560-0900 after business hours. Alternately, they may call Durham Crimestoppers at 919-683-1200.

In an interview with CBS 17 on Friday, Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead called the incident unacceptable.

“We’re talking about an 11-year-old and a 2-year-old and I can’t imagine how they begin to process this incident in their young lives, it’s even hard for us to process. To me, it’s unimaginable how we got to this point,” said Birkhead.

The shooting happened in an unincorporated area of the county where shooting incidents are up this year, according to recent data.

Data from the Durham County Sheriff’s Office shows that this year there have been 18 shooting investigations, and in four of those someone was shot.

This year’s total of 18 shooting investigations in the county is up from five shooting investigations for the entire year in 2020 and the 11 shooting investigations in 2019.

In the city limits of Durham, there have been 674 shooting incidents so far this year, and if you combine that with the 18 in the county, there have been nearly 700 shootings in the area this year.

Brenda Howerton, chair of the Durham Board of County Commissioners, said that the county is working to hire more violence interrupters for the Bull City United Violence Interrupter program.

Currently, they have 13 vacant positions, and the county is looking for more individuals who can work as mediators in hopes of curbing violence.

“Curbing violence is our top priority,” Howerton said. “We’re all tired of seeing black bodies in the streets.”

Howerton said she looks forward to working with the new mayor and city council to find different strategies for tackling this problem. She said she thinks getting young men on the right track early on is key.

“We need to get them educational skills and training so that they can be working rather than hanging out in the street,” Howerton said.

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