Local News

Family relieved by arrests in Durham teen's murder

Posted May 18, 2012
Updated May 19, 2012

— The mother and grandmother of a Durham girl killed in a drive-by shooting more than a year ago said Friday that the arrest of two men was the answer to their prayers. 

Demetriss China, mother of 13-year-old Shakanah China, said she never doubted police would solve the case.

Shakanah, a seventh-grader at Lakeview School in Durham, was playing outside 7 Atka Court when someone fired several shots from a passing van. She was hit in the stomach and died.

Her grandmother, Diane Billings, remembered Shakanah as her favorite, the child she spoiled above other grandchildren.

"That was my baby," Billings, said. "I miss everything about her."

Billings and China agreed, after Shakanah's death, they had sleepless nights, lost weight and prayed for closure.

"I wasn't going to rest until I found them," China said of the men who killed her daughter. "Now I can't rest until they get what they deserve."

For Billings, the arrests bring a measure of relief, but don't ease her loss. "I tell everybody it still won't bring her back. The reason she was shot was so foolish. A beautiful, innocent person is gone over some mess that could've been avoided."

On Friday, police charged Levette Lipscomb, 26, and Brandon Townsend, 19, with murder. Police said both men lived on North Briggs Avenue, and they were being held without bond. Family relieved by arrest in Durham drive-by Family relieved by arrest in Durham drive-by

"I'm glad," Billings said, "But by the same token, someone else's family will have to go through grief and heartache because of what their child has done."

Family members said there were more than two people in that van, and Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash, and callers do not have to leave a name.


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  • No duh May 18, 2012

    Guess it's time to get my news elsewhere. Sick of the bias anyway...

  • muggs May 18, 2012

    You know I just was about to comment on this again but truth is I really could care less,if these people want to shoot each other then so be it,they deny the cause,defend the perps and use racial injustice to promote their lack of wanting to prosper,stay as you are,time is standing still for you all.

  • outdoor592000 May 18, 2012

    Well Statick, I wish I had the answer, would give it. I think it is such a tragedy, so many young black men incarcerated, that have so much more potential, they just don't know what they are capable of achieving. They just somehow need that sense of pride, duty, and honor. I have always thought the draft would be a good thing for any young man not employed or in school at age 18, would teach them code, honor and a sense of self respect, give a lot of them that which is missing in their lives...........instead of stints in prison.

  • outdoor592000 May 18, 2012

    But Statik, this is the land of opportunity! We have throwed money and social programs and affimative action at this problem for 20-30 yrs, and you still blame discrimination for the problems. Come on man, you can achieve anything you want to in this country, if you will WORK for it! I have not gotten one thing free in my life because of my race, have worked 2 jobs at times, take responsibility for my actions, never got a girl pregnant, why can't this level of self awareness and responsiblity be more prominent in these communities? Money has not fixed it.

  • Gnathostomata May 18, 2012

    This is not a good day; one girl died for no reason and two young men have to pay a terrible price for being on the wrong side of the law. Taxpayers will have to pay to keep them off the streets so they cannot shoot anyone else, and people keep blaming one set of people rather than the life-style chosen by individuals. I can only take responsibility for my own actions and believe each of us chooses how to behave, so can that attitude about "you people"; we are the people! Says so on the Constitution. We spent years with the attitude that our actions don't hurt anybody but ourselves, and that was wrong. We spent the next few generations looking the other way and not getting involved. We will spend the next few generations paying for it.

  • gingerlynn May 18, 2012

    I hope Shakanah's family has some peace now.

    Unfortunately, if these two had been kept behind bars to begin with, she would be alive today.

    Past records and upcoming court dates going back 10 years.




  • Statick May 18, 2012

    The Black community does not want to hear this. I feel for these young children born with no fathering in their lives. So many turn to other role models, which do not give them the guidance they need, and lose sight of what they can be or become. This I think is the heart of the problem. - outdoor592000

    The black community knows this, however, totally ignoring that this bad behavior has it's roots from socioeconomic factors stemming from discrimination is, like other keep chirping, being in a state of denial. Civil rights only became law less than 50 years ago, so one cannot expect things to change in less time than that. As far as too many young children born with no fathers being a factor, you are correct. No positive mentors is a detriment. If the only role model a child has is poverty and someone in their live who is part of crime, that's what they're going to mimic. It's a vicious chain.

  • Flattop May 18, 2012

    Outdoor is correct-there are very few role models or leaders. Unfortunately the Black community does not like to hear what Bill Cosby keeps telling them-take ownership and do something about the problems like why are there so many unwed mothers. IMHO, until we change the Welfare system and make work a requirement for entitlements, we will not see major changes in the statistics.

  • working for deadbeats May 18, 2012

    I didn't need an outreach program to live right and not harm others.

  • outdoor592000 May 18, 2012

    Good point Plenty Coups. I think the Black community has to start looking within, problem today is not the White man, like 50-100 yrs ago. Problem today I think, stems from over 72% of black children born out of wedlock, the highest of any race. (Check CDC statistics from 2009). The Black community does not want to hear this. I feel for these young children born with no fathering in their lives. So many turn to other role models, which do not give them the guidance they need, and lose sight of what they can be or become. This I think is the heart of the problem.