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Durham police need help to reduce gun violence

"Reducing crime is not going to be solely the responsibility of law enforcement," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said.

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham law enforcement officers, dealing with the second fatal shooting in a week's time, asked the public again Thursday for help in stopping gun violence.

Jesus Contreras, 37, died Wednesday after he was shot outside of 4 Welch Place. Two other people were taken to Duke University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. They were in stable condition Thursday.

Last Friday, a gunman killed two people and wounded two others at a tire shop in Durham County.


Authorities have neither suspect nor motive in either case, although they said Thursday that Contreras may have known his killer. Sheriff Mike Andrews said the hunt for the killers will go beyond those who wear a badge.

"Reducing crime is not going to be solely the responsibility of law enforcement," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said. "Certainly, they are going to take the lead, but we've got to have really community buy-in, community support."

"We are only as good as those eyes that are out there to assist us," Andrews said. 

City and county leaders are cooperating in these investigations and the larger effort to reduce gun violence. They want neighbors, family and friends to help by reporting signs of potentially combustible behavior.

"Those signs are there, and mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, pick up the phone and call," Andrews urged.

Neighbors at Welch Place said they heard 20 to 30 gunshots. In calls to 911, neighbors described people running all around and a shooter standing in the street.

One woman said she won't let her children play outside.

Bell said leaders are working on ways to make people feel more comfortable sharing information and are taking those strategies directly to neighborhoods.

"I don't need to know your name, and I don't want to know your name, but I'd like for that information to be provided," Andrews said.

Anyone with information about either of the recent shootings should call investigators at 919-560-4440, extension 29322, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.