Durham mayor, police chief discuss children's shootings
Durham Mayor Steve Schewel and Police Chief C.J. Davis address two overnight shootings in which three children were wounded.
a terrible light, a tragic night in the city of Durham. We had two shootings in which 10 people were shot, although there has not been, Ah, a loss of life recorded. Yet three Children were shot. One of them is in serious but stable condition, and another 1 12 year old is in critical condition. Uh, 1st 1 to express my sorrow and on behalf of our community and our hearts go out to those families who who had a loved one shot in this terrible in these terrible incidents. But I also want to express my outrage on behalf of our community as well at people who would shoot into a party or a gathering of any type people who are bringing gun violence and terrorizing our community. This is a relatively small number of people, but they're visiting violence on our community. There's unaccepted. One of the things we know is that in order to help stop this, we need the cooperation and support of the members of our community, the witnesses to this gun violence, who will come forward and support us, support their own families and support our community by working with our police to find out who did this, make sure that they don't ever do it again. I want to say that Chief Davis and her command staff and the Durham Police Department have my full support. I am behind the 100%. We're so fortunate that we have a fabulous police chief in Chief. Davis has done an amazing job with our police department in every way. She has my full confidence as the as the does the department. And I know that she has the full confidence of the City Council as well. One of the things that you chief has done is to focus our efforts on again the relatively small number of violent offenders who are bringing this gun violence to our community. I think that's the right strategy. And Chief Davis again has my full support in this strategy. So I'm sorry to have to be here today on this terrible or this terrible occasion. This is never the kind of thing that any of us wants to be here. But it's important to address our community to express our sorrow and our solidarity with the families and also our outrage that this could happen here on the streets of Durham. We've got to change that. And now I'm going to introduce our chief chief, C. J. Davis, for her comments. Thank you very shool and thank you to everyone who is in attendance to here the message that I have this morning sanlih. This morning, our community awoke after another night of senseless violence that has forever changed the lives of multiple victims and families. There is no excuse nor justification for such horrible acts against these members of our community, some of which were Children last night at 2 21 South Benjamin Street, while people gathered at that residence for party, a black vehicle believed to be a Chevrolet Impala drove by the home and fired several rounds at the crowd of attendees who gathered in the front of the residents. A total of eight individuals were shot during this incident and were transported by various means to local hospitals. Two of the victims were just Children ages three and eight, later in the evening at 30 20 Weaver Street. Based on our preliminary information, it is believed that an exchange of gunfire occurred between two groups of people who are unknown at this time. During the incident, a bullet entered a second floor apartment window, striking a 12 year old victim. The victim is hospitalized and it is now in critical condition. It is unknown at this time if the Benjamin Street incident and the Weaver straight shooting are related. Just last week, a 74 year old mother was struck and killed by celebratory gunfire. As a community, we agreed with the victims and their families. However, we as a community must also stand together to prevent these egregious acts of gun violence from happening to others. The safety and well being of our Children and neighbors. All of our responsibility, we must say no more, enough is enough. This must end while shooting incidents are on the increase in cities around our nation. We refused to allow the tensions of this present climate or the reckless actions of violent offenders. The hinder our efforts towards ensuring safe and livable neighbourhoods for all citizens. But we publicly implore to the individuals shooting at each other to find common ground and make a truce to cease this back and forth gunfire. Think of the innocent victims impacted by your actions. There are Children in our community whose lives will never be the same Because of the actions of those who don't care enough to put their differences aside and their guns down, The Durham Police Department will use every available resource to identify and bring to justice. Those that committed these horrible acts today also appeal toe every community member who cares for the future of our Children and others. Please speak up. Too many innocent lives have been lost or shattered by gun violence. Help us take our neighborhoods back. If you see something, please say something before another Life is tragically impacted. At this time, we will open up for questions. Thank you so much, Chief Davis, for that statement. If you would like to ask the question, if you raise your hand and then I'll call on you so that you can be a Knute it all right, we have Charles Bradley. Hi there. This is Aaron Thomas with WRL News. I'm at one question, of course, for getting a lot of hearsay from different neighbors in regards to the 12 year old at the East Weaver Street location under the 12 year old lift at that apartment, or were they here for some type of cookout or whatever. And then my second question is, um, this exchange of gunfire. Is it believed that this is any type of gang activity, or is it too early toe? Answer that question as faras the residents in the 12 you're living at that location. I believe that 12 year old was well, and we're still trying to confirm the 12 year was located at that that particular location. But we're trying to confirm whether or not they were actually a resident at that particular location as it relates to gang violence. Um, you know, I I will say this that even though we haven't confirmed any particular, um, individuals associated with games, it is our belief that this this type of activity, the characteristics of it, is associated with gangs. Okay. Thank you so much. Erin, Does anyone else have a question? Okay, we have Ah, Bridget, if you could state your name and your station in your question will meet you shortly. It's Bridget. Chaplain. Hi. Bridget Chapman here with CBS 17 news. If I know you spoke about the importance of people speaking up in terms of the Weaver Street shooting. Have any witnesses come forward? And if so, has their information lead you anywhere? I know that. You said there is no suspect information at this point. There is no suspect information at this particular point. However, the department is following some leads. We continue to encourage our community members. Somebody was out there last night. Somebody saw something. Somebody may have even been a bystander. And this is what this appeal is about. Please say something because we don't want those individuals who would carry out such reckless acts to continue this type of activity and in our communities. So at this particular time, we're continuing to canvas fat community, and we believe that there will be individuals that will provide it. Formacion for us. All right. Thank you so much. Next we have Mark seven. A key with a question. Oh, hi, Chief. This is Sara Krueger with W r. A l. I just wanted to ask more information specifically about the South Benjamin street shooting, if you have. I know you mentioned a black Chevy Impala may be involved. Do you have any more information you can share about Suspect. Um, and what a motive might have been in this not sure the era, but we don't believe that this was just a random act. All we have is the description of that particular vehicle. And as you know, is these these incidents unfold, more information comes in, so we will continue to follow those leads. And, um, even to the point of continual chemist, see in those communities to see whether or not some leads will help us identify suspects. Okay, Thank you. Next we have Jason LeBron. I think you this is Jason de Bruin. I'm with North Carolina Public Radio and the Guns and America reporting project. A bit more of a global question for you, if you don't mind. I think it's pretty clear that endemic has exacerbated um, some violence. I wonder if you might address how the pandemic has affected violent crime and shootings in general, Perhaps for this case specifically, if you're not comfortable addressing that, you know, time that together to this case specifically, that's OK, But But maybe if you could address how violent crime and shootings have been perhaps exacerbated because of the pandemic. Uh, yes, I will. And not Teoh say that this specific case you're absolutely right. Don't want to associate it with this specific case. But we do believe that the environment, the pandemic itself, has created an environment Where, um, these types of shootings have been, you know, quite prevalent. Uh, just by nature of the interaction between the community and officials And, of course, that the entire criminal justice system has been impacted. So it is very, very complicated environment, and we have had to adjust, um, the manner in which we address these types of situations and not so much in a traditional way, but, uh, and at a distance, you know, Teoh to have some very robust investigations so that we can help identify some individuals who are committing crimes that are related to illegal guns. Okay. Thank you. Any other questions? All right. And the questions for Chief for for the mayor. All right, well, thank you, Chief Davis and thank you may ritual for for your your statements and allowing for the media to ask these questions. If any members of the media, if you think of any additional questions, you can email us at DPD media at Durham n c dot gov Again, we're really looking for people to come forward and give us any information about any of these shootings that occurred. And we're hoping that you guys could get the word out so that we can get the word out to get. Amanda says, I hate to interrupt you, but Tom Donahue has a question. He's trying to get in. All right. No problem. We'll let him it. Hi, this is Tim Pulliam speaking. Can you hear me? Yes. Hi, Tim. Go ahead. Hi, there. Sorry about that. The video was not playing. Uh, she Davis, I have a two part question. Um, from what I understand, we've been here before last year with With Zion person being shot and killed last summer. And I do recall you introducing shot Spider as something that could help in these types of investigations. You presented that to the city, and the mayor just said in his opening remarks, e at you have his full support. So I want to know where are things with shot spotter? Do you think it could have helped in this situation? And will you try to present that again to the city? Tim, you know? Yes. It's been about a year now, since not just the discussion about shot spotter, but since we had a press conference very similar to this related to Zion person. And this is getting old. Um, not just as a police chief, but as a ah community member. Ah, mother, to see the reckless disregard for life in our community of the Durham Police Department and I intend to seek out every opportunity to, um, quell this type of activity, whether it's through technology, whether it's through other innovations. And, um, the only thing we can do is continue to try to work together. This is very surreal. This is, um, it's it's It's a situation that I think we're all very frustrated about, and we're all seeking for answers. So I will continue to work towards employment any type of systems and technology that would assure, or at least help to ensure the safety of our community members. All right, thank you. I'm opening up the group chat to see that they're I guess people were able to raise their hand. But I do see there's a question from Crystal Price as well. Yes. Hi. This is ah, crystal price with CBS 17. I was wondering if we could get an update on the conditions of the other victims at Benjamin Street. Is everyone expected to be okay? Um, right now they're two individuals that are still in serious condition or critical condition. And then the others, I think, are in stable condition. Okay. Thank you. And lastly, Virginia Bridges Hi, Virginia, from the News and Observer last year, Chief, you had requested six new officers for the gang unit, which, which you were granted, Where is where is that process in the hiring or bringing on this new members? And have they assisted in this investigation? Um, yes, we were. We had deployed those individuals into the gang, and at that particular time, junior course, that wasn't the totality of the ass. However, those individuals have been very busy throughout our city. If you keep up with the number of shootings that occur in the city that we think are gang related, those six individuals are working around the clock trying to put all the puzzle pieces together. And, um, and of course, they're being supported by other officers on patrol. Other investigative units, we will continue to look internally to try to move individuals around is this problem continues, Teoh fester and manifest itself in a way that is difficult to control. But we will continue to put. All of the resource is that we have to bear towards this particular issue. Yes, those investigators have done extremely good work. They started hit the ground, running with some of the gang issues. But we still have ah, problem in our city that we're trying to get our arms around. All right. Thank you. And last question. Elissa. Hi, Elissa from the news and Observer. What kind of intervention are police planning to do to reduce the number of shootings? Say that again. What kind of intervention are police planning to do to reduce the number of shootings in the city at this particular time? You know, on I mentioned the current state of events. As far as you know, the pandemic that we're dealing with and and the many other issues at hand we are moving. Resource is around and, um, you know, trying to get our community toe assist and provide information, especially about illegal gun activity, legal gun sales, and either stolen weapons to get some of these guns off the street. We continue to seize weapons, you know, from the streets. But, you know, we only have the capacity to do, but so much. But that doesn't mean we are going to continue to try. Teoh, stop some of the gun violence. But we are asking for the assistance from our community members, especially those who have Teoh experience, um, gunfire and the diminishing quality of life from this type of activity. All right. Thank you, Chief. We also want Teoh. Thank our City Manager, Tom Bonfield being on the call. We also see that City Councilwoman Freeman is also in the call When I thank you both for joining on also Mayor Steve Shul for his statements. And Mayor shul, if you don't have any additional remarks, is anything else you like to add? Okay. And, Chief, anything else you like to say? No, thank you to everybody who is attending. Thank you. All right, well, thank you, everyone again, if you have any additional questions we didn't answer here. You can email us at DPD media at Durham, n c dot gov. We also like to note that all of this is was being broadcast live on our social media pages as well as on the city s so that everyone could be able to be informed about this and again. Please help us spread the word so we can try to bring closure to these families to find out who is responsible. Thank you all so much.