15-year-old babysitter gravely injured using her body to shield younger cousins from gunfire

Friday, July 7, 2023
Babysitter gravely injured trying to shield 5-year-old from gunfire
EMBED <>More Videos

The 5-year-old shot and killed in Durham on Wednesday has been identified by her family as Khloe.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 5-year-old shot and killed in Durham on Wednesday has been identified by her family as Khloe.

Her family said she loved to dance and play in water. She was a funny young girl who "could light up the darkest room." She was ready to start kindergarten in the fall.

"She was strong, very strong since the day she was born...always happy," cousin Davona Hallion said of Khloe.

Khloe was shot and killed Wednesday shortly before 2 p.m. at a home on North Guthrie Avenue near Taylor Street, about five minutes from downtown Durham.

Family members said Khloe was at home with her 1-year-old cousin and their 15-year-old cousin, who was babysitting them. Khloe's mom had recently lost her father; she was at work trying to provide for her family.

Before 2 p.m., Brian Deshan Luster, 42, arrived at the home where the children were staying. Luster is also a family member, but loved ones said he was under the influence of drugs when he arrived at the home.

An argument broke out between him and the 15-year-old babysitter. Investigators said the two fought until Luster grabbed a gun and opened fire.

The 15-year-old used her body to try and shield her cousins from the gunshots.

"He was trying to take everybody in that house out with him, and she was a hero. She jumped in front of those kids to save their life," Ericina Ruffin said. "You have to be strong to jump in front of bullets, so definitely. Especially when it's your own family member attacking you."

The gunshots killed Khloe and caused severe injuries to her 15-year-old cousin, who was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. But the 15-year-old's actions may have saved the 1-year-old's life.

On Thursday, Luster was officially charged with first-degree murder. He was initially scheduled for a court appearance Thursday, but that appearance was rescheduled for Friday.

"I have nothing to say to him," Ruffin said. "There's a special place for people like Brian, and God is going to take care of him."

The news of the shootings sent shockwaves across the Bull City and Durham County.

Sheriff Clarence Birkhead said his office is prepared to lend any support to the Durham Police Department.

"While there are more questions than answers at this point, it is extremely upsetting that another young person has been fatally shot and another seriously injured in our city," Birkhead said. "These incidents are always tragic. However, what's most tragic about this recent incident are the ages of the female victims - one 15 and the other just 5 years old. It breaks my heart to learn the 5-year-old has died as a direct result of her injuries."

Birkhead said that on July 4th, he attended several happy community events and witnessed "our community at its very core."

ABC11 is tracking crime and safety across Durham and in your neighborhood

"It pains me that less than 24 hours later, we are now experiencing and dealing with the unthinkable - another shooting that has taken such young life from our midst," Birkhead said. "Durham, we are so much better than this."

Increase in guns seized as violent crime declines in Durham