Local News

Attack on father, son won't deter regulars from using American Tobacco Trail

Posted June 8, 2016

— Durham police are searching for three men after a father and son were attacked on the American Tobacco Trail Tuesday night.

Durham police said that the man and his son were exercising on the trail at about 8 p.m. when they were approached by three men, one of whom implied he had a gun and demanded money.

The father was punched by one of the men, but was able to pick his son up and run away, police said.

Authorities said the men stole the boy’s mountain bike, which was valued at about $125, before fleeing. They were last seen on East Cornwallis Road near Industry Lane.

All of the suspects were described as being between the ages of 16 and 18.

Bicyclist Anthony Hatcher frequents the trail and said the incident gave him reason to be concerned, but he still believes the area is safe.

"I do worry a little bit," he said. "Fortunately, it's never happened to me, but I think it gives Durham and the trail a bad name because I don't think it's that frequent but obviously it makes news."

Alexander Gooch, who walks on the American Tobacco Trail every day, said he was surprised by the incident.

"People ask me all the time, 'aren't you scared' but most of the time I just try to be nice, speak to everybody, wave to everybody and be nice," Gooch said.

Most people said they believe the trail is safe and that the actions of a few should not deter people from using it. Others, however, said they would like to see more cameras and better lighting along the trail.

Durham police increased patrols along the trail Wednesday night and were encouraging people to be vigilant and more mindful of their surroundings- something cyclist Skye Hendrix was already doing.

"I actually carry mace with me when I ride and it's sad that it happened, but for me, I'm going to keep doing what I do," she said.

Anybody with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.


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  • Freda Kerr Jun 9, 2016
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    Let's be for real WRAL! Please post the whole descriptions of the perps, please!! Especially if assistance with apprehending them is requested! Sheesh!!

  • Jj Parker Jun 9, 2016
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    Not sure why there isn't a description of the perps.

    The news stated they were approached by 3 men?? LOL They are NOT men at all. Low life cowards is what they are.

  • Paul Guzski Jun 8, 2016
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    The info WRAL was afraid to print. This is taken directly from a Nextdoor community forum post by the Durham Police Dept.

    The suspects are described below:
    #1 – black male, 6’ to 6’2”, 16-18 years old, lighter spots on his face, black hat, gray sweatshirt, and jeans
    #2 and #3 – black males, 5’8” to 5’9”, 16-18 years old, dark skin, one with a red t-shirt and the other had on a black jacket both wearing jeans.

  • Jonathan Adams Jun 8, 2016
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    No physical description. Hmm that's not a hard one to figure out.

  • Janet Ghumri Jun 8, 2016
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    There's some 15-18 year olds in my neighborhood, I wonder if we should call on them? Even though we're a good 25 miles from Durham, that's all we have to go on as far as a discription. SMH
    Just a teeny bit more info might help find these delinquents

  • Mark Cline Jun 8, 2016
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    When seconds count, the police are minutes away. Protect yourself, pilgrim!

  • Eric Bohlen Jun 8, 2016
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    If you are exercising after dark, you know better than to be in Durham side of the trail. The city won't do anything about the gangs so avoid at all times.

  • William Mitchell Jun 8, 2016
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    WRAL that certainly is a vague description of the suspects...what is it that you don't wish to reveal? Please provide full details to your readers.

  • Anita Gibson Jun 8, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Yes sir you are correct and I hope they get exactly what's coming to them. Stinking little cowards.

  • James Barefoot Jun 8, 2016
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    It is just a matter of time before these kids try to rob the wrong person.