The mother of a Durham man fatally shot by police Wednesday says he has been depicted unfairly and is asking the public for information about his death.
In a statement released Saturday by Durham spiritual leader Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Louise Pratt says her son, Kenneth Lee Bailey Jr., 24, has been made out to look like “a violent gangster who deserved to die.”
Bailey was a loving son and family member, Pratt says, adding, “He loved his two babies, who lost their father on Wednesday.”
Bailey was awaiting trial on August 2016 charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony conspiracy. He also faced an indictment for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, police said.
According to police, three officers went to the Club Boulevard public housing community Wednesday afternoon to arrest Bailey for violating his pre-trial curfew after he didn’t come home Tuesday night.
Bailey, who was on electronic monitoring, also did not respond to Durham County’s Criminal Justice Resource Center’s attempts to reach him, that agency’s director, Gudrun Parmer, said Thursday night.
According to police, Bailey ran, a brief pursuit followed and Bailey pointed a gun at the officers, who then shot him.
Police have said a stolen gun was found beside Bailey but have not released details such as how many times he was shot or where. The department will issue a five-day report on the shooting next week.
Wilson-Hartgrove, chair of Walltown Neigborhood Ministries, said he met with Pratt on Friday. Here is her complete statement:
“On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 15, my son was killed by Durham police officers. Since I got the news, I haven't been able to find words. I told me friends that I couldn't take calls from reporters.
“Since then, I have learned that people tried to explain my baby's life and death by running a background check. They reported things that were not true as if they had happened. They made him look like a violent gangster who deserved to die.
“Our family and the SBI are both listening to stories about what happened on Wednesday and trying to get to the truth. We ask that anyone who has information share it with us, not with the media.
“But in the meantime, I want to say what I know. Kenny was a young man who loved his momma. He loved his aunts and uncles and cousins and friends. He loved his two babies, who lost their father on Wednesday.
“We are grieving because my baby was taken from us, and we ask the media and community to respect that.
“We are making funeral arrangements and will announce plans for a vigil in the community where Kenny was killed next week. Thank you.”
The three police officers have been placed on administrative leave with pay, which is routine pending an investigation into the shooting.