Durham News

August 4, 2014

Warrants divulge Chapel Hill shooting details

Police found suspected cocaine and learned an argument about money may have fueled the fatal shooting of a Durham man May 30 on Christopher Road, warrants show.

Suspected cocaine and an argument about money may have fueled the fatal shooting of a Durham man May 30, warrants show.

Chapel Hill police officers found Lew Hahn “Ron” Hood, 33, of Durham, lying in the driveway with a gunshot wound to the head, an investigator reported in the warrant. Police responded to 102 S. Christopher Road shortly before noon after receiving a 911 call about a breaking and entering at the house.

Bartholomew Romindas Scott, 35, and Brandon Shamar Townsend, 21, both of Durham, have been charged with first-degree murder. Townsend also is charged with attempted first-degree murder.

The charge suggests there may have been another victim, and warrants show a fourth man was present during the shooting. Police have not released details or a motive for the crime.

The suspects are being held in the Orange County Jail.

In the warrant, Chapel Hill investigators report seizing a Samsung cell phone belonging to Scott on May 30. The home’s owner, Scott Campbell, later told police that Scott had texted him at 12:13 p.m. to say he “needed an attorney quick.”

The warrant does not say where Campbell was at the time. It does, however, describe what police learned after the shooting.

People at the house had been fighting all morning, neighbors told police. According to the warrant, Scott told the 911 operator he shot someone during the break-in and was afraid other people who had been there might come back.

Police only found Scott and the victim at the house, the warrant said. His attorney said in a June court hearing that the call is the only evidence prosecutors have against his client.

Police searched the house, finding bullet holes in the glass front door, the warrant said.

Several small-caliber shell casings were found in a stairwell leading upstairs and shotgun shells were scattered around the house, it said.

Police also found a “white powder substance on the kitchen counter next to a cigarette that appeared to be cocaine,” the warrant said.

Scott was not immediately arrested but went with an officer to the Chapel Hill Police Department to talk about what happened, the warrant said. He texted someone several times during the interview, it said.

Scott later was found to have been texting Townsend, according to a separate warrant for a DNA sample from Townsend. The messages included directions to the house and details about where to find a weapon, the warrant said. Police also discovered that a man was seen driving a burgundy S-10 pickup truck – similar to one owned by Townsend’s mother – near the house and shortly after the 911 call.

Police also talked with another man, whose name is not being released because of concern for his safety, prosecutors said.

The man told police he went with Hood to the house that morning, according to the warrant.

Scott was there, the witness said, and Hood was complaining that Scott owed him money. The witness said he saw a man wearing a black mask pointing a gun at his face. Scott started backing up, the witness told police, and the masked man pulled the trigger.

The gun jammed, and he ran, the witness said. He hid in a closet but escaped through a window and ran into the woods when he heard more shots, the witness said.

Police found a black mask later, while searching Scott, a warrant said. The warrant did not say which man was wearing the mask during the shooting.

Scott’s next appearance in a Hillsborough courtroom is scheduled for Aug. 19; Townsend will appear in court Aug. 11.

In 2012, Townsend was charged with murder in the 2011 Durham drive-by shooting in which 13-year-old Shakanah China was killed while playing in front of her home. Durham County’s district attorney dismissed the charge against Townsend because DNA results were not back yet from the SBI.

The charge could be reinstated if the results show Townsend was involved.

Officials think the shooter was aiming at rival gang members playing basketball nearby.

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