Man shot by police in Durham; one officer injured
Posted November 22
Updated November 23
Durham, N.C. — Durham police shot and killed a man Tuesday afternoon near the intersection of Wabash and Dayton streets in Durham's McDougald Terrace community.
A Durham police officer was also injured.
According to Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis, three officers in uniform but in an unmarked vehicle were on patrol in the area when they encountered Frank Nathaniel Clark, 34, of Durham, who on foot around 12:30 p.m. and stopped to speak with him.
During the conversation, Clark made a sudden movement toward his waistband, and the officers engaged in a struggle with the man. During the struggle, the officers heard a gunshot and an officer fired his weapon, according to Davis.
The number of shots fired by the officer was unclear, Davis said.
The officers were identified as Master Officer C.S. Barkley, Officer M.D. Southerland and Officer C.Q. Goss. Southerland was taken to the hospital to be treated for a leg injury but was later released.
The police department did not say which officer shot Clark.
Davis said she does not know what specifically prompted the officers to approach Clark, who has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2000, but said they were conducting a neighborhood canvas because statistics have shown a 20 percent uptick in violent crime and robberies in the area.
"Much of what we have attempted to do is gather intelligence in the community from the community members," Davis said.
According to Davis, a gun not belonging to the Durham Police Department was found at the scene.
Davis did not know if the officers and Clark previously but said the three officers and community members were "very familiar" with one another.
Davis said that two officers have been placed on administrative assignment and the officer who was hospitalized will be placed on administrative assignment following his release.
Neighbors said Clark was known as Scooterbug, and many watched Tuesday afternoon as the incident unfolded.
"I was in the window. I seen Scooterbug come around the building," said one woman, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.
The woman, who said she watched the shooting from her open window, said two officers initially stopped and questioned the man.
"He lifted his hands up like 'I don't have anything.' As he was about to turn around, they held him; they held him, a gun went off," she said.
The woman said the third officer who arrived fired multiple shots. Multiple witnesses reported that the officer who fired shots was black.
"He tried to empty his clip on him. The other officers were like 'man, stop shooting man. Stop shooting'," she said.
The woman said she never saw the man with a gun, although investigators said one was found near his body.
"He didn't shoot no gun. If he did have a gun, he didn't shoot it," she said.
Police chief: Shooting 'increases the need' for body cameras
The Durham City Council on Monday night approved the use of body cameras for officers, but the cameras have not yet been purchased. Following Tuesday's incident, Davis said the department is looking to begin an aggressive rollout of the cameras in the district that includes the McDougald Terrace community in January.
"This does increase the need. The need was already very apparent to us, to help provide clarity in situation such as this," Davis said. "We don't expect to just walk away, investigate. We want to make sure that the relationship that we are attempting to build here, in the City of Durham, is one that is collaborative, it's inclusive, it's transparent as well."
Tuesday’s shooting is being investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting.
Davis said she is hopeful that any civilians with footage from the scene will come forward, but there were no police dash cameras.
When asked if she was concerned about community response to the shooting, Davis said she aims to maintain a level of transparency,
"We immediately reached out to a couple of the local ministers and also our victim witness unit was responding as well so we could have dialogue and open conversation about what occurred in the community," she said.
Claudette Parker, who lives in the neighborhood with her six children, said she is concerned by the continued violence in the community.
"We just need to come together," Parker said. "We need to come up with a plan...so we can cut down on this violence. It's just too much. We want this community to be safe for the kids."
Parker said she believes better communication is the key to preventing future incidents.
"I believe the police need to have better communication with the community. We just need to sit down and come up with a plan," she said.
Community activist Rafiq Zaidi was on scene Tuesday afternoon and spent time talking to residents.
"They are speaking the same language that I am speaking, with the same passion," he said. "We're tired. It's justice or else. Enough is enough."
McDougald Terrace no stranger to gun violence
Tuesday’s deadly shooting at the largest public housing community in Durham comes after a series of incidents throughout the year involving gun violence.
In January 2016, a 28-year-old man fired shots at an officer during a foot chase and was arrested.
In March 2016, John Burton, 78, was at the McDougald Terrace Housing Complex working on his nephew’s car when someone driving by shot and killed him.
In April, several cars were shot at long Wabash Street and Ridgeway Avenue.
In May, a 33-year-old man was found dead with a gunshot wound while three children were playing outside.
The last time Durham police were involved in a deadly shooting was September 2015, when four officers shot Lavonte Biggs after they said he pointed a gun at them. The weapon was later found to be a pellet gun and the district attorney did not file criminal charges.