Local News

Dunn Officials Hope To Ease Tensions After Recent Shooting

Posted August 30, 2006

— In the shadow of Dunn's water tower lies Magnolia Avenue, a street of tidy front porches, flowers and a church. But nearly two weeks ago, Dunn police showed up at a residence to arrest 19-year-old Matthew Burris for a shooting two days earlier.

Police said that when officers arrived, Burress came toward them with a gun. Police opened fire, killing Burris. Some nearby residents dispute that, saying that Burris was unarmed. They also maintain that Burris' shooting was racially motivated.

Many residents on Magnolia Avenue prefer not to speak publicly about what happened, saying they want to move on. But others said the neighborhood is wounded, and that it's a wound they don't want to fester.

"The way things are going right now, there needs to be something done about it," said resident Jessie Wynn.

Wynn lives across the street from where the shooting occurred. She doesn't think the shooting was racially motivated, but she believes the community needs to talk.

"I wish they would all pull together and try to let it go and make things better," said Wynn.

After the shooting, some neighborhood residents shouted threats at Dunn police. City manager Ronald Autry said things have simmered down, and that police are taking precautions. Officers are now patrolling in pairs instead of alone.

With Burris's funeral scheduled on Friday, Autry says police will be vigilant.

"More visibility through the weekend for any incidents that may arrive," he said. "But we really don't see anything."

The president of the Harnett County NAACP will meet with Dunn Police Chief B.P. Jones on Thursday to discuss the shooting.

Dunn police have not released the names of the officers involved and they are not on administrative leave. The State Bureau of Investigations is reviewing the case.


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