Local News

Sources: Man charged in death of Durham businessman was his tenant

Posted September 1, 2008
Updated September 2, 2008

— Police say they don't believe the shooting death of a Durham businessman was prompted by an argument or long-standing dispute.

Investigators have arrested Barry Wayne Kaalund and charged him with murder in the killing of entrepreneur Ronnie Sturdivant.

Sturdivant was found shot to death Saturday afternoon at a motel-turned-thrift-store he owned. Sources say Kaalund was a tenant in the building.

"It's very sad and very unfortunate for anyone to die under these very tragic and violent circumstances,” Bill Kalkhof, president of Downtown Durham Inc., said.

Downtown Durham Inc. is trying to revitalize downtown. Kalkhof and others tried to convince Sturdivant to redevelop the old hotel and another building known as the "Oprah building," which reads "We Want Oprah!!!" in an effort to bring the talk show host to Durham. Sturdivant wouldn't budge, though, when it came to his properties.

“I think his vision for downtown revitalization and my vision differed. We simply didn't see eye-to-eye. Doesn't mean he was right or I was wrong. We just saw things differently,” Kalkhof said.

In 1998, a judge had ordered Sturdivant's old hotel to be shut down after the Health Department revoked his permit. Sturdivant had a history of going head-to-head with city officials.

The Sturdivant family issued a statement Monday:  "There are no words that can capture the loss that we have in our hearts. We ask that your thoughts and prayers be with our family and friends during this most difficult time and hope you will understand our need for privacy."

Kaalund is being held without bail at the Durham County Jail. It was unclear Monday if he had an attorney.

Funeral services will be held for Sturdivant on Saturday at Cole Mill Road Church of Christ in Durham. A viewing is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. with a funeral service scheduled fro 1 p.m.


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  • raysson Sep 2, 2008

    I only met the man once at a seminar that was held at his offices in Downtown Durham. Very down to earth person. It is sad how he went out like that cause he did more for black community in Durham than any other and he will be sorely missed.

  • TheAdmiral Sep 2, 2008

    Everyone knows that the City Council put a hot out on him. It almost says it right here in the story!


  • venitapeyton Sep 2, 2008

    Barry also is a businessman and proud father. He remarried a few years ago. He will have no trouble telling his side.

  • oldschooltarheel Sep 2, 2008

    Disjointed story - I suspect the writer's acumen contributes to the urge to scratch head after reading it.

  • needmocash Sep 2, 2008

    This story is not making much sense. It sounds like the leader of Downtown Durham Inc. had more of a beef with Mr. Sturdivant than the guy accused of his murder did. Hmmmmmm. I hope Kaaland wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time, if you know what I mean,

  • ERRN Sep 2, 2008

    they "don't believe it was prompted by an argument or long standing dispute", OK, I guess it was because they were friends and were getting along great.

  • KevinUNC97 Sep 2, 2008

    It is indeed sad that a promising businessman gets so very little coverage in the media. He was a leader in the small-business community, and it makes no sense why he was murdered over something so minute. I hope that WRAL and other news stations start asking more questions, because there seems to be something missing when it comes to motive in this incident. I hope there isn't a cover-up in the Durham police department about the real causes and perpetrators of this man's death!

  • JessGH Sep 2, 2008

    It's very sad to hear of Mr. Sturdivant's untimely death, and my condolences to the family. I'm also sorry that more was not said in the news yesterday about this. Ronnie Sturdivant was too prominent a figure in Durham not to have had more coverage than this. I may have disagreed with how he ran his properties and the effect on the Durham community, but it was still his right to do it without suffering violence.