Local News

Durham police need help to reduce gun violence

Posted March 29, 2012

— Durham law enforcement officers, dealing with the second fatal shooting in a week's time, asked the public again Thursday for help in stopping gun violence.

Jesus Contreras, 37, died Wednesday after he was shot outside of 4 Welch Place. Two other people were taken to Duke University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. They were in stable condition Thursday.

Last Friday, a gunman killed two people and wounded two others at a tire shop in Durham County. Durham crime map and alerts  

Authorities have neither suspect nor motive in either case, although they said Thursday that Contreras may have known his killer. Sheriff Mike Andrews said the hunt for the killers will go beyond those who wear a badge.

"Reducing crime is not going to be solely the responsibility of law enforcement," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said. "Certainly, they are going to take the lead, but we've got to have really community buy-in, community support."

"We are only as good as those eyes that are out there to assist us," Andrews said. 

City and county leaders are cooperating in these investigations and the larger effort to reduce gun violence. They want neighbors, family and friends to help by reporting signs of potentially combustible behavior.

Durham County Sheriff's Office Durham looks for help with gun violence

"Those signs are there, and mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, pick up the phone and call," Andrews urged.

Neighbors at Welch Place said they heard 20 to 30 gunshots. In calls to 911, neighbors described people running all around and a shooter standing in the street.

One woman said she won't let her children play outside.

Bell said leaders are working on ways to make people feel more comfortable sharing information and are taking those strategies directly to neighborhoods.

"I don't need to know your name, and I don't want to know your name, but I'd like for that information to be provided," Andrews said.

Anyone with information about either of the recent shootings should call investigators at 919-560-4440, extension 29322, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • kermit60 Mar 30, 2012

    Though it is tragic that this stuff takes place evidence of decades shows you are far more likely to get killed in a car accident or by your own doctor. Even with this information why is it that no one demands a greater crackdown on violations that cause accidents and when was the last time you heard of a doctor being charged with someones death?

  • overthink Mar 30, 2012

    As schooldoctor notes, laws don't stop criminals. And there will always be guns available even if they were outlawed on paper. And you have large elements of the community who live by the 'don't snitch' rule for fear of becoming a target themselves, so asking the community to help is pointless.

    If Durham County as a whole wants to fix the problem, crack down on it hard. This will take some re-thinking, such as no longer arresting people for small charges, and getting maximum sentencing for the ones who commit violent crimes. In other words, stop arresting someone who's got a joint, and go after the gang members carrying, selling and using guns.

  • schooldoctor Mar 30, 2012

    Guns have been a part of the heritage in my family for generations, no one in my family has shot anyone except my dad committing suicide. Regulations will not stop criminals from having guns, this only leaves the rest of us in a more dangerous position. My wife, daughter, son and I have cc permits and actively practice carrying a weapon for protection. My work place and church are the only 2 places I do not carry, I pray that none of us is ever put in a position to use a weapon, I also pray that if we are we live to tell about it. No responsible legal carrying person wants to hurt anyone, just to protect them and family.

  • loprestw Mar 30, 2012

    Come on libs, you can't take all the guns; they are too easy to make anyone with right tools can make a very nice gun in their garage. Prisoners make zip guns with no supplies. Or we can make all machinists illegal. Better yet, let's make more anti-gun laws, I'm sure all the criminals will obey them.
    Or just enforce the laws with have we have now!

  • fayncmike Mar 30, 2012

    "Don't need to... the fact is that you are 10 times more likely to be killed by a family member than by a stranger. Those were legally owned guns.

    Stop muddying the waters with facts:)

  • fayncmike Mar 30, 2012

    "Pass law to make everyone carry a gun ;-)

    didn't North Carolina just do that?

  • trianglerelic Mar 29, 2012

    Pass law to make everyone carry a gun ;-)

  • davisgw Mar 29, 2012

    When you catch a felon with a gun ask the feds to prosecute. The punishment is more severe and they serve the entire sentence. NO time off for anything. Work with the judges and magistrates and put some bonds and sententences with teeth on the perps.

  • bbqchicken Mar 29, 2012

    Illegally obtained guns = Gun violence... Pass new laws making illegally obtained guns a more serious crime. Lets say you catch Joe with a stolen gun, he automatically gets 50 years in prison. Catch the guy selling illegal guns and give him Life. Check the gun for prints and go after everyone who ever touched it. Make illegal gun ownership such a serious crime that criminals will think twice about touching one. Telling Criminals not to own guns is like telling a Crack-Head not to smoke Crack.. If a person knows that owning an illegal or stole gun will put them behind bars for a very long time, they may re-think things.

    Good Idea, but enforcing already existing laws would be a better start not more laws.

  • slickgirl24 Mar 29, 2012

    mep....You speak the truth, but everyone is so worried about being politically correct they can't see the forest for the trees. The criminals live off the welfare and prison system which is funded by law-abiding, hardworking taxpayers.