Six shootings in four days have left one person dead and 13 wounded in Durham.
No arrests had been made as of late Tuesday, and authorities had named a suspect in only one of the shootings.
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office was searching for Quashaun Niajel Slade, 23, whose last known address is 2507 E. Main St. in Durham. He’s accused of killing Dymond Patrice Fowler, 19, and wounding Alexis Patterson, 17, and leaving them in a ditch on Glenn Road on Monday night.
Slade has been charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
The violence began Friday night when someone fired into a crowd during a cookout on Hinson Drive, wounding seven men and one woman.
Police have not said if the shootings were related, but spokesman Wil Glenn said the majority are not random, meaning the shooters knew their victims. Investigators have offered rewards for information leading to those responsible.
“Part of the issue is getting the community to help us so we can keep our community safe,” Glenn said.
The shootings include:
▪ Just before 10:30 p.m. Friday, someone in a white car pulled up to a birthday party in the 2700 block of Hinson Drive, exchanged words with someone in the crowd and opened fire.
▪ About 7:30 p.m. Sunday, someone in a passing vehicle on North Roxboro Road shot a 21-year-man standing a short distance away in the 400 block of Canal Street, east of downtown, police reported. The man’s injuries were not life threatening.
▪ At 2:05 a.m. Monday, a man fired several shots into a home in the 900 block of Scout Street, just south of downtown, hitting a 48-year-old woman inside three times. A man who lives at the home told police that several young men knocked on the front door and opened fire when the woman did not open it. He said the men fled in a white car.
▪ At about 3 a.m. Monday, someone shot a 20-year-old man sitting in the front passenger seat of a parked car in the 2000 block of Ashe Street in East Durham. Police say two men walked up to the passenger window of the car, pointed a gun and shot the man in the leg. Neighbors who heard gunshots told dispatchers that they saw a young man running down the street holding a handgun.
▪ Just before 9 p.m. Monday, someone shot a security guard at Duke Manor Apartments at 311 South LaSalle St. Police found the guard lying outside with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. His name has not been released.
▪ Shortly after 9 p.m. Monday, Fowler was found shot to death in a ditch in the 4700 block of Glenn Road in northeast Durham County. Patterson was shot in the face and one wrist and pretended to be dead so their attacker would leave, deputies said. She then went to a house to get help.
Fowler’s sister, Dwaunika Moss, 21, said the family was told that Fowler and Patterson were abducted Monday and a ransom was demanded. Patterson’s brother received a phone call from someone asking for money, Moss said.
Fowler, who graduated from Northern High School in June, was a “good spirited person,” who liked to go to parties and liked everybody, said her brother, Tremayne Dawson, 17.
“Everyone is her friend,” Dawson said.
The shootings underscore the challenges facing a city that is enjoying a renaissance downtown and an improving national reputation. The city has been featured in two travel articles in The New York Times in the past year and received kudos for its dining scene in other national and regional glossy magazines.
Then there are neighborhoods in which shootings are just part of daily life, said Otis Lyons, a former gang leader turned founder of Campaign 4 Change, a nonprofit anti-gang and drug diversion program.
Plenty of kids, “they see gunshots every day,” Lyons said. “Rival gangs drive by and shoot at them.”
The problem includes gangs scattered across Durham with, in some cases, a recruiting process that centers on forcing children to join just because they are growing up in a particular gang territory, he said.
About 100 kids were involved in a Campaign 4 Change summer camp that just ended, Lyons said. About 60 of them were in gangs.
The recent shootings are “unacceptable” and “almost unimaginable” in that span of time, said Durham Mayor Bill Bell.
The shootings, along with a continued increase in violent crime since 2013, are signs that the city hasn’t addressed the issue as much as he had hoped.
That is one reason Bell said he asked in early 2014 for the federal Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center to help the city address violent crime and strained relations between residents and police over racial bias allegations.
Bell said the challenge needs to be addressed by a variety of stakeholders.
“We can’t put it all on law enforcement to solve those issues,” he said. “On the same token, we can’t put all on the community.”
Durham can realistically address the issues, Bell said. “The question is: Who can lead that effort?”
Investigators are asking anyone with information about the shootings to call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.