Local News

Families celebrate arrest in Durham tire store shooting

Posted March 30, 2012 9:21 p.m. EDT
Updated March 31, 2012 4:27 p.m. EDT

— For those who suffered the most when a gunman opened fire a week ago in a Durham County tire shop, news that an arrest was made Friday came as a relief.

JoAnna Wright said she ran through her house. "I was just ecstatic," she said. Wright lost her mother, 65-year-old Naomi Wright, in the shooting.

Police say O'Brian McNeil White, 24, of Durham, opened fire last Friday afternoon inside J.T. Tire, at 2202 E. Geer St. Naomi Wright, who was at the front desk, and Abdelgadir Mergany Abdelganir, 32, a cab driver who was at the shop to get a tire fixed, were killed and two other people injured.

"It doesn't take the pain away, it doesn't take the hurt away, but it gives you relief to know he was not on the street to hurt someone else," JoAnna Wright said.

White faces two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was being held without bond at the Durham County jail.

Two other people – store employee Terry Shaw, 51, and customer Javier Ramirez – were shot and are still recovering from their wounds.

Isameldin Ali, a friend and co-worker of Abdelganir, struggled to put his pain into words.

After he announced the arrest, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews praised neighbors who, he said, provided the tips that led to White's arrest.

Andrews said forensic evidence collected at the shooting scene linked White to the crimes, but he declined to get more specific about the case.

"Durham County citizens are our eyes and ears on the street and play a vital role in preventing crime," Andrews said. "I appreciate those in the community who have called and provided investigators with valuable information leading to this arrest."

The sheriff declined to say whether more arrests are expected.

White has been on probation for a December conviction on drug and weapons charges, according to state Department of Public Safety records. He was arrested two other times last year for carrying a concealed weapon, records show.

He was discharged last year from the Army, according to his mother, who declined to give her name. She said he was stationed at Fort Bragg but was never deployed.

Regarding the charges against White, she said, "I raised him. He is grown up, and and he is his own man."