Local News

Retired counselor's slaying shocks friends

Posted July 17, 2009 5:32 p.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2009 6:34 p.m. EDT

— Police continue to be tight-lipped about the slaying of a retired counselor last weekend, a man friends said was a tireless volunteer.

Bill Burroughs' wife returned from church Sunday morning and found him face down in a pool of blood inside their home on Red Cedar Circle.

Investigators have called Burroughs' death a homicide, but they haven't said how he died or whether they have any suspects in the case. They did say they don't believe the slaying was a random crime.

"We all really dearly, from the bottom of our hearts, will miss him," longtime friend George Williams said.

Williams and Burroughs were teammates on the St. Augustine's College basketball team in the mid-1960s.

"He was always a positive-thinking person. He would always say, 'We can do it. We can beat anything,'" Williams said. "Everything that I've been a part of, he was a part of. He was right there."

Williams went on to become a successful track coach at St. Aug's, and Burroughs served as national president of the college's alumni association and as alumni representative to the school's board of trustees.

Burroughs spent his career working with youth in the Northeast as a counselor, and he moved back to the Triangle after retiring.

In Durham, he ran the political campaign of City Councilwoman Cora Cole-McFadden, who had been a high school classmate of his. She choked back tears Friday in calling him "one of the greatest citizens that ever lived."

Williams and Cole-McFadden said they can't imagine who would hurt Burroughs.

"His character was well above those that I've met in my years," Williams said. "He always believed in giving and helping and giving back."