Local News

Woman killed at Duke clinic

Posted May 4, 2010 3:32 p.m. EDT
Updated May 5, 2010 9:26 a.m. EDT

— A female employee was shot and killed at a Duke University Health System clinic Tuesday afternoon, Durham police said.

The suspected gunman died after being shot by police, a family member said.

Police said a man entered the North Duke Street Clinic, at 3116 N. Duke St., at about 2:50 p.m. and fired several shots at the woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Relatives identified the woman as Charlene King, a phlebotomist at the clinic for more than 20 years. The gunman was identified as her former boyfriend, Burnette Taylor.

The clinic was placed on lockdown following the shooting, an employee said.

Officers training nearby responded to the shooting, Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said. He said the shooting was not random and that the victim was targeted.

About 40 minutes after the shooting, police found Taylor hiding in a wooded area near the corner of Broad and Carver streets. He exchanged gunfire with police and was shot.

Taylor, 52, died at Duke University Hospital a few hours later, a family member said.

Taylor was a registered sex offender. He was convicted in October 1993 of second-degree rape and served more than 12 years of a 35-year sentence before being released from prison in February 2006, according to state Department of Correction records.

He was convicted on misdemeanor assault on a female charges in February 2007 and in March 2009 and was placed on probation both times, records show. The Department of Correction lists him as a probation absconder.

King recently ended her year-long relationship with Taylor, said her stepson, Steven Shealey.

"I guess he realized he had lost something like a jewel, something precious as she was, and that's why he couldn't let go," Shealey said. "I guess he felt, if he couldn't have her, he didn't want anyone to have her."

"They were having some kind of a dispute. That's all I know," said Taylor's son, Antwon Parker. "My thoughts and prayers are with that other victim's family, but this is a tragic time right now for the family."

King, who had three adult daughters and four grandchildren, moved into a house in Graham in Orange County only a week or two ago. Shealey said. She had worked at the Duke clinic for more than 20 years, he said.

"She didn't deserve this at all. She was someone who would give you the shirt off her back – a very sweet woman," Shealey said.

The shooting is under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation and the Durham Police Department’s Professional Standards and Criminal Investigation Divisions.

The SBI review of the shooting is standard procedure for any incident in which a North Carolina law enforcement officer fires a weapon.

As a result of the hospital shooting, Duke has canceled all Wednesday appointments at the North Duke Street Clinic. Patients who have questions about their appointments should call 919-613-7650.

Officials say the clinic is expected to reopen Thursday.