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78-year-old is latest victim in Durham drive-by shootings

Posted March 10

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— Innocent people have been pulled into a world they want nothing to do with in a recent rash of drive-by shootings in Durham.

Law enforcement has responded to four drive-by shootings in less than a month and an arrest has been made in at least one of the cases. Two incidents, including one that occurred Wednesday night, involved innocent bystanders becoming victims.

John Burton, 78, was at the McDougald Terrace Housing Complex Wednesday afternoon working on his nephew’s car when someone driving by opened fire.

“Bullets start flying. I was the third shot that went off,” he said.

One bullet went straight through his upper arm but Burton was back out at the complex less than 24-hours later to finish the work on his nephew’s car, bullet wound and all.

“It’s crazy. Here, I’m 78-years-old. I ain’t never had anything like this happen,” he said. “I don’t even live over here. I just come over here to work,” he said.

Police said the shots that hit Burton were fired from a newer model white Ford Taurus with several men inside. Authorities believe the vehicle may have been a rental car.

Burton is the fourth person to be shot in a drive-by shooting in Durham since Feb. 12. Other victims included an 18-month old, a 72-year-old and a 15-year-old who died from his injuries.

Mark-Anthony Middleton is a local pastor who has been working with Durham police to try and fight violent crime. He was part of a group that traveled to Boston in hopes of learning new tactics. Middleton said the drive-bys are disheartening, but don’t mean the city’s efforts have failed.

“It’s a strategic plan. It’s not going to be overnight, so it ebbs and flows,” he said.

Middleton encourages the community to continue to try and make a difference and he urges people to go beyond the usual vigils or forums.

“Vigils mean to keep watch. I’m afraid we’re having so many vigils that we are watching our kids die,” he said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest in Wednesday's shooting. Anybody with information is asked to call Durham police at 919-560-4415 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.


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