Local News

Duke student shot during struggle with would-be robber

Posted August 9, 2009 6:12 a.m. EDT
Updated August 13, 2009 3:31 p.m. EDT

— A Duke student struggled with a man who tried to rob him, resulting in gunfire that wounded him and possibly the would-be robber, Durham police said.

Ulisses Gurgel, 22, and a woman were walking in the 500 block of Watts Street shortly before midnight Saturday when a man armed with a gun approached them from behind, police said. He ordered the pair to put their hands on their heads and started to search them.

A struggle ensued over the gun, and two shots were fired, police said. Gurgel was shot in the abdomen, and the attempted robber fled.

"I was pretty sure that it was shots, not firecrackers. ... It was like right here, and the woman, she was screaming her guts out,” said Anita Akella, a Duke graduate student who lives nearby.

Gurgel was treated at a nearby hospital. The woman was uninjured.

The gunman was limping when he fled and might have been shot, police said. He was described as black, approximately 40 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a stocky build. He has bulging eyes. He wore a gray shirt and dark jeans.

The shooting happened one block from Duke's East Campus, where first-year students are to move in next week.

Graduate student Melanie Oberman said the shooting happened outside the apartment she recently rented.

"I definitely don't feel comfortable living in the house until I have security put in," she said. "I had no idea that something could happen right outside my door like that."

Residents said Trinity Park neighborhood has long been a safe area.

“It makes me very sad, more than it does fearful," homeowner Sally Spears said. "But the world we live in now has turned into the situation that it is."

Anyone with any information about the shooting should call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.