Local News

Mother of wounded children says police arrested wrong man

Posted November 3, 2011
Updated March 12, 2012

— One of four men charged in a drive-by shooting in Durham that wounded two young children wasn't involved in the crime, the children's mother said Thursday.

John Tarver, 23, of 204-B N. Driver St., and Arthur Clendenning, 24, of North Hyde Park Avenue, made their first court appearances Thursday morning on charges in the case.

Au-Nestii Hagans, 1, was shot in the arm, and Anaryiion Hagans, 3, was shot in the hand when someone opened fire on North Driver Street on Oct. 23. The two children were inside a home at 204-A N. Driver St. at the time.

The children's mother, Dominique Hagans, insisted in court that Clendenning was with her sister and others on the afternoon of the shooting and couldn't have been involved.

Chandria Myers said after the court hearing that Clendenning was the person who called 911 to report the shooting. He was with her and others in a house across the street from the scene of the shooting, Myers said.

Police say Tarver shot Tavarez Brown on Oct. 17 on Fern Street. They think Brown, Clendenning and a third man drove along Driver Street and targeted Tarver in retaliation.

Tarver was standing on his porch, and the bullets missed him and went through the wall into the other side of the duplex, wounding the two children, police said. When Tarver returned fire, he mistakenly shot Troy Lee Howard, 48, who was visiting family a few houses away, in the leg, police said.

Tarver told WRAL News the day after the shooting that he didn't know anything about the crime.

Gary McCrae, who is Howard's cousin, also said he saw Clendenning outside a house across the street when the shooting occurred, so he couldn't have been in the car with the gunmen.

"Arthur didn't have anything to do with it. Arthur was home with his kids," McCrae said.

Arthur Clendenning in court Police credit neighborhood tips for drive-by shooting arrests

Durham police are still trying to sort out who fired the shots, but Clendenning's involvement is part of the ongoing investigation, Lt. Patrice Vickers said.

During the first few days of the investigation, Durham police complained that they were getting little help from people in the neighborhood, but on Thursday, investigators credited residents for providing the tips that led to the charges in the case.

"Everyone realized we're here for the same common goal, and that's to stop these individuals from ever being able to do this ever again and have some closure for our victims," Vickers said. "Since the initial statement we had given, I think the community heard. I think they really heard and understood (that) this is our cry for, 'We need your help.'"

Jaunarais King, 23, of Kent Lake Drive, turned himself into authorities on Thursday night. He was being held under a $1.5 million bond in the Durham County jail. His first court appearance is Friday at 10 a.m.

Brown, 24, of Spruce Street, was not in custody Thursday. Police asked that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4281, extension, 29123, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

Clendenning, Brown and King are each charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.

Tarver is charged with two counts each of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon for the Fern Street and Driver Street shootings.

Tarver was being held in the Durham County jail under a $1.5 million bond, while Clendenning was being held under a $2 million bond.

"Unfortunately, we don't have a way of knowing what someone is going to do one day to the next and how arguments are going to be resolved," Vickers said. "We have to send the message that gun violence, using violence to solve your problems is not the way."


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  • wildcat Nov 4, 2011

    A mother will defend her children until then end, even though the child very well may be guilty. Pray for this mother.

  • thepeopleschamp Nov 4, 2011

    "Durham police arresting someone without sufficient evidence??!!? Shocking. This reminds me of a funny story about these three guys who went to Duke where there was this stripper and....." love2dostuff

    It was actually the prosecutor Nifong that went out lighting candles with the community churches and promising to make an example out of the lacrosse team, not the police dept. It was Nifong who convened a grand jury and obtained an indictment without sufficient evidence. The police did make mistakes, but it was Nifong and a lying “victim” that perpetuated the whole fiasco.

  • SouthernGirlJD Nov 4, 2011

    They all should be locked up!!

  • OleNCNative Nov 4, 2011

    This is why the police can't clean up these areas... the residents just won't cooperate.

  • HotShot Nov 4, 2011

    Obviously a case of gang violence....everyone is afraid to say anything for fear of retaliation! It would be a death sentence for them AND their family.

  • eoglane Nov 3, 2011

    wake up i work in a situation where i seem moms helping the locked up children everyday, try to sneak stuff into the jail,

  • eoglane Nov 3, 2011

    When tune comes the rest will talk and if he is guilty and mom was lying which happens often with criminals, put her is jail also with the girlfriend.

  • Jack Flash Nov 3, 2011

    If the story said "Mr. Clendenning is a person of interest," the comments here would overwhelmingly resemble, "BURY HIM UNDERNEATH THE JAIL FOREVAAAAA!!!1!" But now the mother of the VICTIMS says he wasn't in the car and wasn't involved and suddenly everyone here is all skeptical. I wonder why... I wonder if people looked at his picture and noticed he had on a t-shirt... yeah, that must be it. Some people see a t-shirt and think "criminal."

  • working for deadbeats Nov 3, 2011

    Somebody needs to get in there and organize this community and fast!

  • airbornemonty Nov 3, 2011

    I'm afraid that it is the hood talking here, the hood where they don't SPEAK nothing, don't HEAR nothing, don't SEE nothing and so they don't know nothing and that makes it doubly hard to investigate.