Everyone is 'struggling': Hillside High principal reflects on 2 former students gunned down at NCCU

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The deadly shooting this weekend at North Carolina Central University touched the Hillside High School community.

The victims, Tavis Rhodes and Shamori Brown were described as respectful, well-liked young men when they were students at the Durham high school.

Some felt the circumstances of their death seem strange. Durham Police said the deadly shootings were not random,-which means they were targeted.

Tavis Rhodes' mother told ABC11 on Monday that he had a ticket to watch NC Central's football game against Winston-Salem State. According to police, the men were found shot in the surface parking lot off East Lawson Street, across from O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium, where the game was played.

Loved ones says both victims were close friends and graduated from Hillside in 2019.

RELATED: 'I just want justice': Mom of NCCU shooting victim in anguish

On Tuesday, ABC11 spoke with the Hillside Principal Dr. William Logan on the effect of the murders.

"I think everyone -- those who knew them are still struggling to process it as well," Logan said. "In the same breath I, struggle with wondering if the number of deaths these students have had to contend with over the past couple of years. Has this become normalized?"

Logan has been principal at Hillside for nine years. He estimated that during that time, staffers and students have grieved the loss of at least five current or former students because of gun violence.

He said Rhodes and Brown were involved in programs geared toward helping students succeed.

One of those programs is AVID -- also called Advancement Via Individual Determination.

Logan said he wants the community to know the two were great students.

"I just hope their situation isn't one that is lost and we keep moving on," Logan said. "Something has to be done because at some point in my mind, what we are seeing happening in the community will see itself manifest in schools. And certainly we don't want that to happen. But something has to be done. And it's larger than the school. To me it's going to require greater collaboration amongst all agencies across this community."

On Monday, NCCU Chancellor Johnson Akinleye asked the City of Durham to consider the technology called Shotspotter, a sensory device that can detect gunfire.

ABC11 reached out to the City of Durham to see whether this is a tool they are again considering. City officials have not yet responded.

Deputies are looking for a black Nissan Altima involved in Saturday's shooting.

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator Mitchell at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29335 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.
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