Police said they found a man in his 20s who had been shot in the 500 block of Liberty Street, near Grace Drive, around 6:20 p.m. Officers believed the shooter was in a nearby apartment.
Police evacuated the area around the apartment, got a search warrant and called in hostage negotiators and the department's Selective Enforcement Team. Units were staged at the Durham Public Library.
Officers spent "an extended period" trying to contact anyone in the apartment, but go no response, police said. Officers then went into the building but did not find the suspect.
Police remained at the scene after midnight Thursday.
The identities of the victim and suspect have not been released. An update on the victim's condition wasn't available.
Anyone with information about the shooting should call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in certain felonies, and callers never have to identify themselves.