Local News

Durham teen charged after woman shot in eye with pellet gun

Posted November 18, 2015
Updated November 20, 2015

— Police said Wednesday that they have charged a Durham teen after a woman was shot in the eye with a pellet gun.

Tyrease Anderson, 16, was charged with malicious maiming, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, felony conspiracy, injury to property, defrauding an innkeeper and misdemeanor conspiracy. He was being held in the Durham County jail under a $500,000 bond.

Police said Melissa Alvarez, 43, was applying for a job Tuesday afternoon when she learned that three teens had left an Applebee's restaurant without paying their bill. She spoke to the teens after the incident.

"I told them I can't believe what I just heard, that they did," said Alvarez.

Alvarez thought that would be the end of it, until the three teens started following her to the bus stop in the 3600 block of Witherspoon Boulevard.

"I kept on walking until I got to the bus stop and then they decided to come on fully to the bus stop," Alvarez said.

At that point, Alvarez said she continued to chastise the teens for leaving without paying for their meal.

"Telling them I didn't really think that was the right thing for them to do," said Alvarez.

Alvarez said that was when the teens got angry and threatened her. Next thing she knew, they were shooting at her with a pellet gun from behind some nearby bushes.

"When this one hit my eye, it was just as bad as it still is right now and [I was in] very, very much pain," said Alvarez. "I can't even open it at all. I can't 100 percent see out of it."

The three teens ran from the scene, but officers found one in a Home Depot, a second outside the store and the third teen behind a restaurant across Mount Moriah Road. The pellet gun was recovered.

Anderson is a student at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability, Durham Public Schools officials said. The other two suspects, who are both 14, are facing charges of injury to property and defrauding an innkeeper.

Alvarez underwent emergency surgery Tuesday night, and said that she is grateful that she didn't lose her eye.

"I was really, really blessed. The Lord was right there with me, when I needed Him and I was happy," she said.

Alvarez's eye doctor told her that she will regain some use of her right eye, but it will take time. She is scheduled to have another surgery within a month.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Investigator D. Smith at 919-560-4583, extension 29366, or Investigator K. Owens at 919-560-4583, extension 29365.


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  • Jarfaris Brown Nov 19, 2015
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    And if she had had a gun and shot them, or a police officer had responded, then the marchers would have been here wanting to know why a black teen with a harmless bb gun was killed.

  • Erica Konopka Nov 19, 2015
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    Well, they were' just teens' so I'm sure nothing will amount to their arrest. We recently had our entire neighborhood victimized by 'just teens' who felt the need to slash dozens of tires. Police got a tip, interviewed the suspects, got admission from them, and then told us 'well, they are just teens, they don't have jobs, so there will be no restitution.' Caused thousands of dollars of damage, but won't be held accountable because they don't have jobs. Never mind the Cadillac sitting in their driveway. It's obvious the parents *could* make things right, but hey, it's a free for all when it's 'just teens'.

  • Anne Davis Nov 19, 2015
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    "Good thing they weren't driving because if the cops had pulled them over it would have been profiling instead."

    These young criminals are proving that profiling does actually work.

  • Wayne Douglas III Nov 19, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    You are correct. We have issues.

    Issue 1....Why did these boys believe it was ok to walk out on a restaurant tab? They learned it somewhere.

    Issue 2....Why were these boys running around the city with a pellet rifle? They learned it somewhere.

    Issue 3....Why were they shooting at a person? They learned it somewhere.

    Issue 4....Why are these boys starting their criminal behavior so young? They learned it somewhere.

    Issue 5....Why were their parents not there. Oh wait. Sorry, sorry. The parents have yet to learn that part.

  • Teresa McClain Nov 18, 2015
    user avatar

    Wow, you guys have serious issues here. People do bad things no matter the color of their skin.

  • Erika Phipps Nov 18, 2015
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    Can't wait for their kin to go on tv and talk about how these angels would never do such a thing.

  • Steve Clayton Nov 18, 2015
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    Good thing they weren't driving because if the cops had pulled them over it would have been profiling instead.

  • Ray Lee Smythe Nov 18, 2015
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    North Carolina loves criminals.

  • Jim Coulter Nov 18, 2015
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    Where is the NAACP to take credit for this outstanding member of society? Im sure his parents are upstanding fine couple too.

  • Tom Laurence Nov 18, 2015
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    Where & when does the March start?
    And just ages 16 and 14.... they will have wonderful, long criminal lives ahead of them.