Friend recalls slain Durham man

He is year's 25th homicide victim

Staff WriterNovember 25, 2007 

— Kim King remembers her friend, the one found dead Friday from a gunshot wound, as a brother.

Both grew up in New York City, she in The Bronx and Derrick James Burch, 44, in Brooklyn. They met in Durham through a mutual friend 10 years ago.

On Saturday, hours after returning from an out-of-town Thanksgiving gathering, she was told her close friend had been killed. No arrests had been made in his slaying as of Saturday night. Investigators released little information as to how he died.

"We're still putting the pieces of the puzzle together," Durham police homicide Sgt. Jack Cates said.

Someone saw Burch's 6-foot-3-inch, muscular frame lying partly in the street near the intersection of Southgate and North Driver streets about 8:46 p.m. Friday. After an officer arrived, it was found that Burch had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Burch was found one block from where Tavisa Cartnail, 14, was killed after being shot in the head by a stray bullet while riding in a sport utility vehicle in March.

Burch is Durham's 25th homicide victim this year and the county's 28th. There were 19 slayings in 2006, including four that were ruled in self-defense.

Burch, whose last listed address is on Spring Creek Drive, would visit a friend who owned a store near where his body was found, King said. His brotherly qualities kicked in last year when King was injured and couldn't walk for a few weeks.

"When I got hurt, he really stepped up to the plate and he took care of me and my kids," said King, 42. "There's not too many people like that."

Burch was about to open a group home with a friend. He is survived by four children, two of whom are young adults, King said.

stan.chambers@newsobserver.com or (919) 956-2426

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