DURHAM, N.C. – Monday night’s deadly shooting in Durham is the second homicide at a public housing complex in the city in less than one week.
According to Durham police, a man was shot and killed at Liberty Street Apartments off Liberty Street at 10:30 p.m. on Monday.
Last Wednesday, 21-year-old Derek Ortiz was shot and killed at Cornwallis Road Apartments, another public housing complex, on South Roxboro Street in Durham.
Tara Parrish was home when gunfire rang out at Cornwallis Road Apartments last Wednesday at 2 p.m.
“We heard a barrage of gunfire,” Parrish said. “It lasted about three minutes; it was between 30 to 60 shots.”
She said Ortiz was shot and killed right outside her apartment building.
“My anxiety is through the roof,” Parrish said. “I can’t even describe the feeling I feel for his family.”
Three bullets also struck Parrish’s apartment. One bullet hit her back door and two other bullets hit her upstairs windows.
She said one bullet just missed her teenage son who was in his room upstairs.
“When you have to dive on your floor when a bullet can come through your window, there’s nothing safe about that,” Parrish said.
Parrish is calling for more to be done to better protect families who live in public housing where shootings continue to be a problem.
“We live here because we can’t afford $1,200 and $1,300 dollar rent,” Parrish said. “We don’t have another option, but we also don’t want to lose our life trying to raise our kids and live in what they said is supposed to be affordable and safe public housing.”
CBS 17 reached out to Durham police and the Durham Housing Authority to find out how many shooting incidents have happened at the different public housing properties managed by the Durham Housing Authority.
Neither DHA or Durham police provided CBS 17 with specific data.
Durham police did however provide CBS 17 with a complete list of shooting events that have occurred in the city from Jan. 1 through June 30.
CBS 17 went through this list and counted all of the events that have occurred within a block of the 16 Durham public housing communities.
CBS 17 found there have been at least 35 shooting incidents that have happened in these Durham public housing communities during that six-month time span.
These shooting events included aggravated assaults, weapon violations and shooting vandalisms.
In some of those cases, CBS 17 found that vehicles, a kitchen wall, a front door and an exterior wall were hit by gunfire in these different public housing complexes.
“There is nothing safe about Durham public housing,” Parrish said.
CBS 17 also reached out to the DHA about Parrish’s concerns and how she is calling for more to be done to better protect these communities.
DHA sent the following response in an email:
“The safety of our DHA residents and employees is one of our top priorities. The gun violence in our city has directly impacted most if not all of our DHA communities as well as our staff that serve them. DHA enjoys a robust partnership with the DPD to assist the police in its vital role in public safety. Those efforts include meetings with the resident organizations to share safety tips, the installation of cameras in some communities and participation in violence reduction efforts, such as Bull City United. With all efforts considered, we continue to seek additional resources to help alleviate crime in our communities.”
Parrish told CBS 17 that she would like to see more police officers patrolling the complex on a regular basis. She argued that there also needs to be more programs and activities for the young people in the community.
“You have all these babies, and you don’t have anything to nurture them, to show them there’s more than public housing, there’s more than this,” Parrish said.
According to Durham police’s violent crime plan of action that CBS 17 has obtained, police have increased patrols and proactive policing efforts in some high-crime communities.
According to the plan, that includes Cornwallis Road apartments, McDougald Terrace and Oxford Manor.