Local News

Calls for end to gun violence after man shot outside Durham County courthouse

Posted April 4, 2019 12:38 p.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2019 5:36 p.m. EDT

— Two men accused of opening fire on a man outside the Durham County Courthouse appeared in court Thursday, just hours after gunfire rang out at the busy downtown court building.

Equaan Straiter, 29, and Jordan Armand Terrell, 25, both of Durham, have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and felony conspiracy in connection with the shooting a day before, police said.

During the hearing, the judge ordered each man held on a $1 million bond. They remained at the Durham County jail, pending the bond payment.

The men were in court as civic activists and city leaders began calling for an end to the gun violence that has plagued Durham in recent weeks.

Prosecutors asked for the high bond for the men because the shooting occurred in a busy area with dozens of potential innocent bystanders who could have been gunshot victims.

"We ask that you take into consideration the fact that there were multiple people in the area as this incident happened," the assistant district attorney said. "Multiple people going into the courthouse (and) multiple people going to work."

Marcus Cox, age and hometown unknown, remained hospitalized after he was shot at least five times during the attack Wednesday shortly after 9:30 a.m. outside the courthouse at 510 S. Dillard Street.

Authorities erected yellow crime scene tape at the main entrance of the courthouse as several law enforcement officers descended on the scene to investigated the incident.

Police also closed Dillard Street from Mangum to Roxboro streets during the investigation.

Police said Cox fought with the two suspects before they opened fire. It was still not known what the men were fighting about before gunfire rang out.

Terrell was in court for a hearing on resisting a public officer, which he did not attend.

At some point, he and Straiter encountered Cox and they fought.

The shooting on Wednesday has shocked some residents of Durham, as civic activists called for an end to gun violence.

"We are here to say, enough is enough," said the Rev. Curtis Gatewood, who has launched the Stop Killing Us campaign. "As the state's Bull City, we will no longer tolerate the bull of complacency."

Durham City Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton renewed his call for the city to consider purchasing ShotSpotter, software that detects gunshots and notifies police.

We need to "see if we can lessen gun violence in this city and if we can get some guns off the streets," he said.