RALEIGH — A 4-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet fired outside his home late Wednesday, and police spent much of Thursday questioning residents in the East Raleigh neighborhood, looking for information about who fired the fusillade of bullets that struck his apartment and that of a family next door.
The boy was shot on Melvid Court, off Peyton Street, around 11:20 p.m., according to a recording of his mother’s 911 call, which police released Thursday afternoon. He was hit in the lip, but police said the injury wasn’t life-threatening.
On Thursday, a steady stream of neighbors walked past the building, gawking at bullet holes in the first- and second-story windows of the apartment where the boy lives, and the second-story window of the other apartment, where another small child periodically peeked out.
The shot wasn’t aimed at the boy, nor is there any reason to believe that his apartment, which contained at least two other children at the time, was the target, Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.
As of Thursday night, no arrests had been made.
The apartment complex, Cedar Moor, has 81 units grouped in small, two-story buildings around Melvid Court, a cul-de-sac near Poe Elementary School. Sughrue said the amount of crime in the neighborhood is probably not significantly different from that in the area around it, and records he provided of police activity on the east side of Raleigh support that.
Still, the records portray a troubled place. In the past year, there were three other incidents in which shots were reported on Melvid Court, as well as nearly half a dozen reports of drug violations. There were several disturbances, reports of suspicious people, larceny and more than 60 visits to the complex to serve warrants.
In May 2010, a 32-year-old man with several convictions for drug dealing and possession of stolen goods was shot in the chest, but managed to walk to the intersection of Melvid and Peyton and collapse just after asking a passing motorist for help. Five men were charged with murder in the case.
Eight residents of the apartment complex declined Thursday to talk about Wednesday’s shooting, and four who did speak refused to give their names.
More than half a dozen police were canvassing the neighborhood, asking residents what they had seen and heard. They also tucked yellow flyers into doors where no one answered and under the windshield wipers of parked cars, asking for anonymous tips.
The flyers gave little detail about the incident, saying little more than that multiple shots had been fired and that one stray bullet had struck a child.
In the edited recording of the mother’s call to police, the boy can be heard shrieking uncontrollably as his mother pleads with a dispatcher to get help there quickly.
“Hello, hello, hello, hello … We need somebody, police, at 2423 Melvid Court,” she said. “My son was shot; somebody shot him through the window.”
The woman, whose name was deleted from the tape, said that she had gone to a neighbor’s home to borrow cigarettes and had been gone about five minutes when the shooting started. She said the boy was sleeping on a downstairs couch at the time; the family wasn’t using the bedrooms, she said, because they were just about to move out of the apartment.
She told the emergency dispatcher that she didn’t know who had fired the shots.
By the end of the recording, which lasts just over four minutes, the boy had stopped shrieking, and the mother said that she was holding him in her arms and that his injury was minor.
“His lip is split,” she said. “I don’t know if it grazed him or what. But he’s OK; he’s just crying.”
Staff writer Thomasi McDonald contributed to this story.