Officers shot, killed person attacking gas station clerk in Durham, police chief says

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Officers shot and killed a person attacking a gas station clerk early Wednesday morning, according to Durham Police Department.

The shooting happened around 3:30 a.m. at the Circle K at the intersection of Fayetteville Road and Highway 54, near the entrance ramp onto Interstate 40.

Police Chief Patrice Andrews said officers were called there about a possible suicide. When they arrived, they found the doors locked and a person inside attacking the store clerk with a sharp object.

Officers broke into the gas station and opened fire, killing the person attacking the clerk. The clerk had serious injuries and had to be taken to the hospital.

"Officers fired shots which struck the assailant, fatally," Andrews said.

Some officers were also injured, but they were treated on scene and did not require hospitalization.

Andrews said that because it is early in the investigation, it is unclear how many shots were fired or where the attacker was shot. The names of the attacker and the clerk have also not yet been released. It's also not yet known whether the clerk and the attacker knew each other.

As is policy when an officer fires their weapon, the State Bureau of Investigation investigates the case.

Donald Hughes, a Durham activist and champion for police reform wondered about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on people's well-being.

"Our officers have a responsibility to respond to calls especially those of an individual being attacked," Hughes said. "They have to show up. They have to do the job they are sworn to do, and we would hope that we don't have to encounter these situations and people can receive the mental health services that they need before it gets to a situation where law enforcement has to arrive."

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