‘We have to do something’: Durham’s faith community aiming to replace fear with hope amid recent violence

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Some people in Durham are reaching to a higher power to bring an end to the recent violence.

Congregants at Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church prayed for peace and an opportunity to create change Wednesday night.

Tuesday afternoon, a 17-year-old was fatally gunned down outside the church.

“This hits home, this touches me. This is a kid. He’s 17. He doesn’t deserve it.  Something has to be done. We have to do something,” said Tyrone Cameron.

Cameron helps maintain the facilities and lives on the grounds. He says he left the building minutes before someone drove by and started shooting around 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Police say Zaeveon Tucker was shot at least once in the back while he crossed Driver Street. He collapsed and died in the front yard of Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church.

“This really touched me to see that kid laying there. It’s tragic, the killing has to stop. It has to stop.  He’s somebody’s child and somebody’s child took his life,” Cameron said.

As the congregation came together for bible study Wednesday night, co-assistant Pheonia Humphrey said while the recent violence has made some people fearful, it also creates an opportunity.

“Our goal is to replace that fear with hope,” Humphrey said.

Tucker’s death was one of six shootings in Durham during a 25 hour period from Monday night into Tuesday.

Humphrey wants the church to be able to provide more outreach and intervention to create peace and change in the community.

“We do not want to ignore what happened, but to reflect on what happened and say ‘what can we do better as a church community’ so that this doesn’t happen again,” she said.

Durham shootings timeline

Monday (One dead, four injured)
10:23 p.m.: Two men in the 1200-block of Wabash Street were hit by gunfire as a dark-colored vehicle drove by the pair and began shooting. One man was hit in the hand and the other was shot in the leg.

10:29 p.m.: A woman and two men were at the bus stop near the corner of Liberty and Dillard streets when a dark-colored car drove by and someone inside began shooting at the victims. Kerry Graham Jr., 24, of Durham, was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The woman was grazed by a bullet on her hip and the other man was shot in the upper left shoulder.

Tuesday (One dead, three injured)
2 p.m.: Police were called to the 100-block of N. Driver Street, near the intersection with Main Street, in reference to a shooting. Once on scene, officers located 17-year-old Zaeveon Hershel Tucker dead in the front yard of Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church. Tucker was shot at least once in the back when a vehicle drove by and shots were fired from inside.

5:30 p.m.: A man was injured when he was shot near W. Club Boulevard and Watts Street. Witnesses reported multiple shots were fired from at least one vehicle and numerous shell casings were found in the area. Shortly after police responded to the shooting scene, a man and woman arrived at Duke Regional Hospital. The man had suffered a gunshot wound and the woman suffered injuries from flying debris.

11:37 p.m.: Officers arrived at the VA Hospital in the 500-block of Fulton Street and found that no one had been shot, but one vehicle had been struck five times by bullets. A woman was driving the vehicle on Shirley Street near Fulton Street when an unknown person began shooting at her. She was not injured.

11:45 p.m.: The victim said they were driving on Interstate 85 near Avondale Drive when another vehicle came up behind theirs and started shooting. The victim crashed his vehicle and then exited on to Avondale Drive. Twelve bullet holes were found in the vehicle, but the man was not injured.

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