After Durham shootings, activist says city has 'Chicago-sized problems with Mayberry solutions'

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Monday afternoon, Lea Funeral Home in Raleigh saw hundreds of family, friends and loved ones pack the pews for a celebration of life service for Z'Yon Person.

The 9-year-old boy was gunned down on August 19 as he drove with his family to get snow cones on a warm, summer day.

"It's tough," said Durham city councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton. "You know at 9 years old, your only job is to go eat ice cream and snow cones. Your only job is to talk about what kind of car you're going to drive or who the cutest kid in class is."

Person's funeral was officiated by Bishop Tiff McCarter from The City Ministries.

"All the things I've heard and is being talked about is him being full of life, full of potential. It's a sad situation," Bishop McCarter said. "We have to take responsibility in the streets and talk to these young, Black Men," he added. "And as parents, continue to stand up and fight for our children and go from there."

That message echoed from the funeral home in Raleigh to the heart of Minister Paul Scott with the Black Messiah Movement.

"Durham has Chicago-sized problems with Mayberry solutions," Minister Scott said. "No one is going to save Durham but us. We have to take matters into our own hands."

As Minister Scott spoke, a student from nearby Hillside High School approached him looking for attention. "400 years (Blacks) have been enslaved in America! We are physically free," he told the young man.

"We have to be clear and we have to have new, innovative ways to reach these young people if we want to stop the murders."

Durham police have received tips on Person's murder, but so far no arrests have been made.

"Durham used to be Black Wall Street," Minister Scott said. "Now the Bull City is being known as the 'bullet city'. And we have to change that narrative. And it's going to take all of us."
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