Local News

Shouting Match Clears Durham Courtroom

Posted March 16, 2006
Updated January 22, 2007

— A shouting match between family members of both a suspect in a fatal mall shooting and the victim caused officials to clear a Durham courtroom Wednesday morning.

Lamar Bass, 17, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged in connection with the Dec. 26 death of 16-year-old Lazarren "Qwan" McLean.

During Bass' first court appearance, where his bond was set at $5 million, McLean's mother and Bass's grandmother began shouting at each other, causing bailiffs to clear the courtroom to ease the situation. The screaming continued in the hallway and even onto the street.

The argument began when Bass' grandmother expressed concern about the high bond, reportedly to be the highest in Durham County history.

"I don't blame the children from being in gangs, because when their parents are gone, they need something to belong to," Alice Suggs, Bass' grandmother said after the disturbance.

Police believe Bass may be a member of a gang, but does not believe the victim was.

Bass faces charges of murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and going armed to the terror of the public in connection.

His arrest comes after a month-long search and numerous tips to Durham police. One of those tips led police officers to Pinecrest Apartments Tuesday afternoon, where Bass -- who was reported as saying he would not give up without a fight -- surrendered to authorities without incident.

"We apologize for (the argument)," McLean's grandmother, Paulette Thorpe, later said. "We couldn't hold ourselves down because we could not believe what Lamar's grandmother had the nerve to say."

Police also arrested Cornisha Renee Jenkins, 18, of North Hardee Street, Wednesday and charged her with harboring a fugitive. Her bond was set at $40,000. Bass was apprehended in her apartment Tuesday evening.
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