Close call instills resolve

Bullet hits car of Durham man

Staff WriterNovember 16, 2006 

— The slug lodged in Bud Reiter-Lavery's car roof is a reminder that he survived a brush with an urban gun battle.

It's also there as inspiration, he said, to do his part to fight back at the root of violent crime.

Reiter-Lavery was driving through the 700 block of South Alston Avenue about 5:20 Saturday evening when he heard the sound of gunfire.

He hit his brakes and told his 7-year-old daughter, Theresa, who was in the back in a booster seat, to get down.

He did the same but peered back over his steering wheel in time to hear four to six more shots go off.

One of the bullets landed with a thud in his roof just above the windshield, inches from his head.

"Now all I'm thinking is, 'How do I get my kid out of here?' " Reiter-Lavery, 42, said Tuesday from the parking lot where the shooting took place.

"I said, 'Forget this, I'm out of here.' I floored it."

A man was struck in the ankle, but no other injuries were reported and no arrests had been made.

Eddie Attiah, manager of Brooklyn Beauty Supply at 708 S. Alston Ave., heard the shots and went to close the door.

Before he could, the person who was shot as he stood in the parking lot hobbled in. Attiah dressed the wound as best he could and called 911. The victim, whose name has not been released, was taken to Duke Hospital for treatment.

"I grabbed a shotgun just in case they came in the store," Attiah said. "Anytime you hear shots, it's scary."

Other than scared, Reiter-Lavery isn't sure how to feel.

"I'm outraged," he said. "But this isn't something I live with every day."

Reiter-Lavery said he wants to use the incident as motivation to work for change.

He is the executive director of the Communities in Schools program of Durham, which works with at-risk youth.

He said he wants to advocate for money to be spent on proven programs that keep kids from getting involved in gangs and other activities that lead to violence.

A study called "Blueprints for Violence Prevention" has identified 11 programs deemed the best at steering children on the right path. Durham governments are only using one of them now.

He called it "unconscionable" to use resources unwisely. And now he has firsthand experience of letting at-risk kids go astray.

"I love Durham," the 24-year city resident said. "I want to put some of my energy into making sure we're doing the right stuff."

Staff writer Matt Dees can be reached at 956-2433 or matt.dees@newsobserver.com.

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