'Stop shooting, start living': Family, friends mourn loss of 12-year-old killed in Durham shooting

Thursday, July 23, 2020
'Stop shooting, start living': Family, friends mourn loss of 12-year-old killed in Durham shooting
Family members, friends and teachers cried during a Wednesday night vigil in Durham that honored Tyvien McLean, a 12-year-old who died just days after being shot in the head.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Family members, friends and teachers mourned the loss of Tyvien McLean, who died just days after being shot in the head, during a Wednesday night vigil in downtown Durham.

The group called for gun violence to stop wearing shirts in solidarity that read, 'stop shooting, start living.'

In the past month, the city of Durham witnessed a 74-year-old grandmother killed by celebratory gunfire on Independence Day. Last week, 10 people were shot in a 24-hour period -- three of them being children, the youngest just 4. The twelve-year-old was hit in the head by a bullet last week and died Monday at the hospital.

RELATED: Durham 12-year-old dies from shooting after being on life support for days

"He was happy, energetic, just full of life. He just meant everything to us," said Tyvien's Godmother, Coretta Saunders. She says his death has left her broken.

Police say two groups, with possible gang ties, were shooting outside Cornwallis Road Public Housing when Tyvien was hit from second-floor apartment.

Neighbors like Ashley Canady, a friend of the family, is urging the Black community to speak up.

"Stop protecting these shooters, start protecting these children," Canady said.

The rash of gun violence comes just as calls for police reforms and defunding grows.

"I don't agree with that. It's never too much police," Saunders told ABC11. We need the police just as much as anything right now. They are our security."

Several Durham City and county leaders attended the vigil. County Commissioner Brenda Howerton spoke. Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton was in attendance and spoke with ABC11 about the recent gun violence.

"I think situations like Tyvien really bring into clear relief that we can't just talk about redirecting resources to deal with root causes in the abstract. We need some things we can do right now. Some immediate tactically things," Middleton said.

Gun violence is a topic the city council will discuss during a Thursday afternoon work session. Councilman Middleton says he plans to ask what resources, technology and funding are necessary to stop the shootings. He believes for too long violence has been competing with Durham's rise.

"We don't get to default to how great our restaurants are, or how great the DPAC is, or how great our buildings are, or how great our economy is doing, the measure of the greatness of a city, our society will be how well we protect the most vulnerable among us," Middleton stated.

City Council will meet virtually at 1:00 p.m, we'll let you know what comes out of the work session.

The boy was a sixth-grader. No arrests have been made in the case.

No one is in custody for these recent shootings.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.