Durham city leaders, advocates look to address gun violence as mall shooting investigation continues

Michael Perchick Image
Sunday, November 28, 2021
Streets of Southpoint reopens Saturday after shooting that injured 3
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No charges have been filed at this time.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Streets at Southpoint reopened Saturday after closing early on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Three people were shot Friday, including a 10-year-old.

One person is in custody. A weapon was recovered, police said. As of Saturday afternoon, Durham Police Department said no charges had been filed.

One man who was shot is still in critical condition. The other two victims, including the 10-year-old, had non-life-threatening injuries.

"It's absolutely horrifying. We have young people who can't vote, can't get a driver's license, can't serve in the military, but are carrying high-caliber weapons on our streets. The people we're arresting are getting younger and younger. The caliber of the weapons are getting higher and more lethal. It's a horrifying proposition. We know we've got to do things that will give your young people other options," said City Council Member Mark-Anthony Middleton.

On Friday afternoon, police and fire crews descended on the popular shopping destination at 6910 Fayetteville Road.

The shooting was reported at 3:23 p.m. on the second floor of the mall. Off-duty Durham police officers working at the mall heard shots fired and requested assistance.

Police said at a media briefing that three other people were injured during the evacuation. They were all treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

WATCH: Mall workers, shoppers describe tense moments inside stores

Mall workers and shoppers described the tense moments inside stores. Michael Perchick reports.

Middleton, who shopped at the mall Saturday, credited law enforcement for their quick response, noting he's looking forward to working with incoming mayor Elaine O'Neal, who said she would address gun violence shortly after her election victory earlier this month.

"We put everything on the table. From root cause initiatives to strategic interventions, real money behind programs that will keep our young people from a life of gangs and gun violence. But also short-term tactical responses as well," said Middleton.

The shooting drew national attention, happening in a crowded mall in the middle of Black Friday.

"We were disabused yesterday of any false sense of security that oh it happens in certain zip codes, or certain census tracks. This was at our mall, a regional mall with big-name anchor stores out there. Everyone who woke up this morning should realize this is an all hands-on deck problem," said Middleton.

The shooting happened between two groups that knew each other, police said. The shooting was not random. Most people involved fled, police said.

Durham advocate Sidney Brodie said he understood the gravity of the situation.

"For an innocent child to be struck in a shopping mall, it raises the level of outrage," said Brodie.

In 1994, Brodie created the Durham Homicide and Victims of Violent Death Quilt after a toddler was struck by a stray bullet. He stitches names of homicide victims, and displays the quilt in public areas around the city to draw attention to violence. Brodie, who often meets with victims' family members, hopes the quilt starts a conversation.

"Our job is to highlight the daily occurrences of community violence, with citizen-on-citizen violence. That's what our angle is. That's the conversation we're not having," Brodie said.

Inside his home, Brodie has a package of unsewn squares.

"As they're stitched on, I do close these squares off each time in hopes that that's the last one that we'll have to do. But reality tells us another thing," said Brodie.

The quilt is currently on display at the Durham County Courthouse through mid-December.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Investigator Justice at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29119 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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