Local News

Officials insist Durham Freeway safe to travel

Posted June 21, 2011

— Three people have been shot at on or near the Durham Freeway in the last three months, but local officials said Tuesday that they have no qualms about driving on the highway.

A 32-year-old man told police that someone inside two vehicles following him on the Durham Freeway late Monday fired shots at his car between the Briggs Avenue and Ellis Road exits. The gunfire caused the man to cross the median and crash in the northbound lanes, police said.

Police said the shooting is unrelated to a Saturday night shooting at Jackie Robinson Drive and Fayetteville Street, which is just off the highway. Michael Orlando Hunter, 30, died in that shooting.

Also, Demario Eugene Carr, 26, died two days after a March 19 shooting on the Durham Freeway near North Roxboro Street.

Investigators said none of the shootings appear to be random violence, and officials said people who drive on the Durham Freeway, also known as N.C. Highway 147, shouldn't be concerned.

"The Durham Freeway is as safe as any other freeway in the country," Police Chief Jose Lopez said.

Some people wrote on WRAL.com that they were taking other routes to work and to drive through Durham to avoid traveling on the Durham Freeway.

Mayor Bill Bell said he doesn't consider the highway to be unsafe, and Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce officials said they have heard no concerns from business owners about the highway.

Durham Freeway Officials insist Durham Freeway safe to travel

"Like many cities, we have too many guns, too many drugs and too many thugs. When you get that combination together, it can be deadly," City Councilman Eugene Brown said. "I think, in terms of the Durham Freeway, this is an aberration. By that, I mean (these shootings) are the patchwork and not the pattern."

Still, police plan to step up patrols along the Durham Freeway to make sure people feel safe.

Durham resident Lanier Blum said she was reassured by the police's action.

"I'm not personally concerned, but it's concerning that you know someone is out there targeting someone and shooting them," Blum said.

A man has been charged in the March shooting, but police are still searching for the gunmen in the other two incidents. Anyone with information about the cases is asked to call Durham police at 919-560-4415 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Genie v2.0 Jun 23, 2011

    funny, step up patrol? I come through there EVERYDAY and have wondered why I have not saw a city, county or highway patrol vehicle. If EACH agency had one car patrolling the area it would make us feel a lot safer and help.

    The shooter is not as likely to shoot if he knows a cop car is right ahead of him or behind him.


  • heilama2003 Jun 23, 2011

    I travel I-147 and I haven't seen any cop patrolling the area. Are they hiding behind the bushes? I do see them in parking lots at businesses though chatting and drinking coffee.

  • Durhamborn1980 Jun 23, 2011

    I agree with "mrallpurpose"...I dont know if its out of towners who have moved here that are making the comments but if you are born and raised here ... the media has always put Durham on the headlines... but look on the net and you will see Raleigh and Fayetteville all over the news in so called hidden articles; its just that Durham makes breaking headlines for somereason... I have even had conversations with people from raleigh that have told me stories about people getting shot and killed that did not even make the news..You cant stop your life because of incidents..because they will continue to come and go..people are crazy all over try looking up other cities newspapers and websites and the very same thing is going on all over TRUST....

  • fatkatts2 Jun 23, 2011

    Maybe the Mayor needs to do a few test runs himself and prove to us how safe he thinks that highway really is.

  • technetium9 Jun 23, 2011

    citzen: rt 147 is perfectly safe go about your normal life. we have some great hospitals that will hopefully patch you up when you accidentally catch a bullet, if your insurance is good. nothing to see here move along

  • heat764 Jun 23, 2011

    Like many cities, we have too many guns, too many drugs and too many th*gs. When you get that combination together, it can be deadly," City Councilman Eugene Brown said.

    yeah thats what we need less guns, that would solve everything, lol.

  • ThatGuyAgain Jun 22, 2011

    I hear you MrAllPurpose but I'm the other side of that coin. I live in Durham and work in RTP, but I try to avoid going into Durham for anything unless I absolutely must. I deliberately head for Raleigh or Morrisville. Maybe I'm not open-minded enough as you suggest, or maybe I've come to an informed and logical decision after years of observation. I like to think it's the latter, but you're certainly welcome to your own opinion.

  • fallday Jun 22, 2011

    I'm from TN and we've only been here 5 years. In those 5 years the media has got me terrified to go out. I've been out at night one time besides driving home from church. I've heard horrible things about Durham from people (we live in Goldsboro) but then when someone who actually lives there talks about it they love it. Now I have to face my biggest fear and drive to Duke and I gotta be honest I'm sick to my stomach over it. I wish the news would realize what they are doing to people and these places when they repeatedly report on just the negative.

  • itom68 Jun 22, 2011

    Construction is currently a mess on the Durham Freeway dodging cones and bullets.

    I grew up in Durham and love it there. However, I am raising my family in Apex! Downtown has a lot to offer. But like some other guy said its always been sort of a tough town.

  • patrick85ed Jun 22, 2011

    This is exactly why I do not travel to Durham EVER.