Crime

Woman shot in Chapel Hill

More than 10 hours after police responded to reported gunshots, plainclothes detectives were still canvassing the idyllic Hillcrest neighborhood for clues in the shooting death of a college-age woman.

As of Wednesday evening, police had not yet identified the victim, a white female in her late teens or early 20s, with blond hair, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 120 pounds.

Police found her lying in the intersection of Hillcrest Road and Hillcrest Circle, in the shadow of long-leaf pine trees and neo-Colonial homes.

She had been shot multiple times, including at least once in the head, said Lt. Kevin Gunter of the Chapel Hill Police Department. He said there was no indication of a struggle or sexual assault.

"We're not leaving anything out as a possibility," Gunter said.

Randy Young, a spokesman for UNC-Chapel Hill police, said officials have distributed the victim's description to the faculty, staff and students via radio, e-mail, voice mail, cell phone text messaging, emergency phone line and an Internet page.

She was wearing a short-sleeve, navy blue shirt with a red circle and a white symbol in the center, a gold necklace with a locket, gray sweat pants and blue-gray-and-white Starbury sneakers, a low-priced shoe endorsed by New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury.

Starbury shoes are sold only in Steve & Barry's stores, which does not have a location in the Triangle. The nearest stores are in High Point and Wilson.

The Hillcrest neighborhood lies east of Franklin Street between downtown and University Mall. A smorgasbord of architecture spills down every side of a high, wooded hill of rolling green lawns and stone walls. Down the hill to the north are apartment complexes and other rental housing. Nearby Roosevelt Drive, the Bolin Creek Trail and Battle Park are popular with runners and walkers who can easily cut through the Hillcrest neighborhood.

As of Wednesday night, it did not appear that the victim lived in the Hillcrest neighborhood.

"This is a very hard, sobering experience," said Deborah Dunning, whose house overlooks the intersection where the victim lay. "This kind of violence is a problem we all need to be worried about. We have to work together to make sure our communities are safe."

Wednesday's killing was Orange County's seventh homicide since late November.

The death of Eva Jacobs in her Cedar Grove home Nov. 26 remains unsolved.

In other cases since then, authorities have charged four men with killing relatives or close acquaintances.

Last week, Jacobs' 20-year-old son, Gabriel Jacobs, was found dead with a gunshot wound after crashing a pickup truck into a utility pole on N.C. 86 north of Hillsborough.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office does not know who shot him or his mother. A judge found insufficient evidence to charge two suspects. District Attorney Jim Woodall has said charges against the only remaining suspect, Montez Stevons, will not hold up unless the Sheriff's Office can find more evidence against him.

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