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Police seeks leads after three bodies found in Durham

Posted January 20, 2015

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— The Bull City's top law enforcement officer is appealing to the public for help as police investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three people whose bodies were found within a 24-hour period – the latest Tuesday morning near the campus of North Carolina Central University.

"One body is startling," Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez told reporters at a morning news conference. "Nevermind, when you have three, one right after the other."

Lopez said it appears the three cases are not connected.

Investigators were called to the area of Rosewood and Dayton streets shortly before 6:45 a.m. Tuesday after a passer-by reported a body in the road.

When police arrived, they discovered the man, whose identity has not been released, had been shot.

His death has been ruled a homicide as has that of a person whose body was recovered Monday evening in a pond in the Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve between East Club Boulevard and Interstate 85 near Roxboro Road.

The third case, which police have classified as suspicious, involves a man found dead in a townhome in the 3000 block of Colony Road Monday morning.

Investigators haven't said how the two people discovered Monday died. Their identities have not been released either.

In his conversation with the media Tuesday morning, Lopez pounded on the issue of community cooperation in crime control, noting that a number of shootings have taken place in the Bull City since the beginning of the year.

"The solution to stopping any crime is the collaborative effort between the community and the police department," he said.

Anyone with information about any of the deaths is asked call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

"I don't want to put everything on the community, but this is our problem. It's the community's problem, and we need the community's help," said Durham Mayor Bill Bell, who attended Lopez's news conference Tuesday morning.

The mayor also said that he doesn't want the crimes to overshadow the good that is happening in Durham or to define the city as it continues to develop.

"We're a city that's growing. You're going to have incidents," Bell said. "Obviously, we don't want them to happen like they're happening, but they do, and we're going to try to find out why."


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  • Kimmy Baldwin Jan 22, 2015
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    OMG FACTS!! Get him! *grab pitch fork*

  • Kimmy Baldwin Jan 22, 2015
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    For all the people bashing Durham, I used to say the same thing and then I moved there. If you only listen to news I'm sure you'd think it was horrible bastion of crime, when the reality is a little different. I've found Durham to be a pretty safe place, with concerned and friendly neighbors who truly love their city. Don't get me wrong, there is a gang issue here and those elements predominantly certain parts of Durham. I've lived in those areas, or close to them, and honestly not once have I felt threatened. Likely because I’m not in a gang. I miss Raleigh because it's my home, but I also have learned to love Durham. With that said, there is a crime issue here that must be addressed. I've been told by Durham PD officers there is a tremendous gang problem. They know who the members are, where the guns and drugs are, but they don't have the manpower to tackle the problem. If Durham wants to correct this problem, they need to fire their police chief and put their mayor on notice.

  • cdurham Jan 20, 2015

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    Smaller population, cultural diversity, superb medical facilities, NC School of Math and Science, Duke Univ., Nasher Museum, Duke Gardens, Museum of Life and Science, Durham School of the Arts, Durham Bulls, DPAC, Eno River State Parks, South Point, RTP, active neighborhood associations and of course the restaurants I love it, but admit that the violence must be addressed. I grew up here and used to sleep with my bedroom window open on the first floor. Wouldn't dream of it now.

  • cdurham Jan 20, 2015

    I can't believe that Morgan Imports is still selling the shirts and people are actually purchasing them. The message totally trivializes the violence.

  • Ching Lee Jan 20, 2015
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    The odds are in favor of you getting your wish.

  • facepalm Jan 20, 2015

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    It's a quote of a t-shirt that I saw for sale in Morgan Imports in Durham. I thought it was pretty funny.

  • Matt Wood Jan 20, 2015
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    For some perspective, I found the following statistics from the FBI related to violent crime by city in 2013 (2014 data is not yet available):

    Durham: 1,177 instances of violent crime out of 245,475 population - 0.48% chance of being a victim of violent crime
    Raleigh: 1,683 out of 428,993 - 0.39%
    Cary: 102 out of 148,905 - 0.07%
    Chapel Hill: 71 out of 58,744 - 0.12%
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg: 5,093 out of 837,638 - 0.61%
    Fayetteville: 1,170 out of 202,524 - 0.58%
    Greensboro: 1,449 out of 279,343 - 0.52% Winston-Salem: 1,426 out of 235,811 - 0.60%

    Though this doesn't account for things like overlap, economy, density, sprawl, law enforcement initiatives & policies, etc.

  • Patricia Towner Jan 20, 2015
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    I work about 1/2 mile from the man found yesterday off Colony, that is not a bad area.. Crime is all over.. Sad but true... There are too many people that do not value other peoples lives.. Its not the city that makes the criminal... Durham is doing so much to make it a great city. The new homes being built in Southside so people can go into the city and do a ballgame, eat, DPAC. Its a great area.. These criminals, alot has to do with upbringing, gangs (which to me anyone is crazy to want to belong to a gang) their addictions, jealousy, robbery, just so many things that make people kill and they are all unnecessary. We need everyone to be a great citizen, love others, no matter what color, nationality etc they are from... I pray for all these victims and their family and friends.. It is so hard to lose a loved one to such a senseless crime...

  • Pensive01 Jan 20, 2015

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    Durham may have a higher crime rate than other places, but it is no way a haven for criminals. For it to be a haven the police would have to be protecting them, which they most assuredly ARE NOT doing!

  • nonPC Jan 20, 2015

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    Raleigh has free parking...you just need to know how to park.