Durham police chief reveals new details about recent shootings, which left a teen dead

Josh Chapin Image
Friday, April 12, 2024
Escalating gun violence rocks Durham; 'We have to do more,' mayor says
Police Chief Patrice Andrews spoke about the recent spate of violence this week that left a teen dead and several others injured.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Durham Police Department held a news conference on Friday to address the recent shootings that happened across the city.

Five people were shot, including a 16-year-old who was killed, in about a two-hour span on Thursday evening.

Durham Police Chief Patrice V. Andrews revealed new details regarding all the shootings.

She said officers found a 16-year-old boy who had been shot in the chest on the 1200 block of Truman Street just after 4 p.m.

WATCH | Durham Police Department holds news conference to talk recent shootings

Police chief Patrice Andrews revealed that investigators charged one victim involved in the shooting at Fayetteville Street at Linwood Avenue.

The teen was taken to a hospital where he later died.

"We had a very tragic loss of life yesterday in our great city," Andrews said. "I do want to remember that child that is no longer with us. He is someone's brother, someone's son. He was something to someone. We shouldn't just be talking about it because it happens in one area, we should all be very concerned because this is our community."

Andrews did not reveal the teen's identity but Latoya Edwards told ABC11 that the victim was her son, Cassidy Johnson, He was a student at Hillside High School.

"My baby is gone. I don't even know what to say, I'm just confused right now, I'm really confused," Edwards said. "There's just too much gun violence going on around here. People putting guns in the wrong people's hands, people thinking they are play toys when they are not.

"I shouldn't have to bury my son," she added. "Everybody was sitting out here, standing out here."

Edwards said another son, a 13-year-old, was shot Sunday. DPD said they responded to E. Lawson Street and Wabash Street just after 5:30 p.m. and found the young shooting victim. He was taken to a hospital with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.

In an alarming revelation, Cassidy was also found shot Sunday on Truman Street, the same area where he would be mortally shot four days later.

"He always spoke very respectfully," Edwards said of her late son. "He going to be missed...every day. You can't prevent what's going to happen out here. You could be standing here right now you feel me that's how bad it is. He was a good son, he was a good brother to his brother, he was the oldest."

Moments after Thursday's deadly incident, Andrews said, patrol officers were alerted that a man with a handgun was seen running from the scene.

He then got into a red Chrysler Sebring. Officers then started a pursuit of that vehicle, Andrews said, and shortly after, it was unsafe to continue the chase because of the "driving behavior of the suspects."

Police later found out the Chrysler was stolen. It was found in the 600 block of Hardee Street, and Andrews said they could obtain evidence from that vehicle.

The chief said she had a message for the gunman: "We will send you to prison for the rest of your life. We have the means and ability to do it. I don't care how old you are."

WATCH | Police investigate multiple Durham shootings; 1 leaves 16-year-old dead

Durham Police are actively investigating three shooting scenes. In all, five people were shot in about a 2-hour span.

Andrews also revealed that investigators charged one victim, 31-year-old Javonnte Patterson, involved in the shooting at Fayetteville Street at Linwood Avenue with "possession of firearm by felon."

Patterson is being held in Durham County Jail with no bond.

All these shootings remain under investigation.

According to DPD's latest report on crime in the city, violent crime has decreased by 3% compared to 2022 to 2023. However, Durham did see an 11% increase in the number of shootings.

ABC11 spoke with Mayor Leonardo Williams about the violence happening in Durham.

"We have to take a holistic approach to, you know, just crime involving the youth," he said. "And the fact of the matter is, the people who are living in the zone where shots fired was, are the ones that are asking what is wrong with us as a council and where is ShotSpotter?"

Durham City Council voted not to renew its contract with the controversial ShotSpotter, an AI-powered gunshot detection technology last March. The vote was 4-2 with Williams and Mayor Pro Tem Mark-Anthony Middleton on the side of keeping the program in effect.

WATCH | Durham City Council rejects ShotSpotter by 4-2 vote

Durham City Council voted not to renew its contract with the controversial ShotSpotter technology Monday night.

Williams said he has reason to take the gun violence personally.

"We have to do more," the mayor said. "These are mostly young black boys under the age of 20. We're seeing the same face. A younger version of me and that's why it's personal."

Andrews said the program was another tool for her investigators but one year wasn't enough to know its full effect.

"One more tool is better than no more tools," she said. "If we're looking at prosecution, that's something that would've taken much longer to look at."

ShotSpotter was set up at the end of 2022 to see whether it could lower call response times. The Duke study concluded last week it did but did not show evidence it brought down gun violence overall.

ShotSpotter, which has now rebranded as Sound Thinking, did not pick up every instance of gun violence. It failed to pick up eight shootings with one or more victims.

Of the 29 incidents that resulted in arrests, only seven happened because of a ShotSpotter notification.

The Durham County Sheriff is also holding a community event to discuss efforts to reduce violent crime on Friday morning. The event is happening at the Durham Justice Services Department building on East Main Street.