Local News

Teen killed as Durham visitors cross paths

Posted June 23, 2011 11:03 p.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2011 9:48 p.m. EDT

— A chance encounter between members of a Pennsylvania high school football team on their way to Florida and a Texas man in town for a family funeral led to gunfire in a Durham parking lot late Thursday, leaving one teen dead and another wounded, police said.

Police said that Gabriel James Gamez, 22, of San Antonio, Texas, had an altercation with Darrell Turner, 18, and Thomas Woodson, 15, before shooting them in the parking lot of an AT&T store at 5348 McFarland Drive at about 10 p.m.

KDKA, a Pittsburgh affiliate of WRAL News, reported that Turner and Woodson, both of Monroeville, Pa., were part of a football team from Gateway High School outside Pittsburgh and were on their way to a camp in Florida.

The teens were going to have an informal meeting with Duke University athletic staff Friday morning, Duke spokesman Keith Lawrence said.

Turner, a rising senior and a linebacker, was taken to Duke University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Woodson, a rising junior, was shot in the leg, and authorities said his wound wasn't life-threatening.

"It's just senseless," Darrell Turner Sr. told KDKA of his son's shooting. "They were going to tour most of the ACC schools – Duke, North Carolina. They were going to Florida, and there was a tournament down there that they were going to participate in.

"It was really just supposed to be fun and football," he said.

Turner Sr. said some members of the team, including his son, were leaving a Durham restaurant Thursday night when they exchanged words with a man who then opened fire on them.

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said investigators believe that Gamez and the victims didn't know each other. Investigators were trying to talk to other members of the football team to piece together what led to the shooting, he said.

Woodson ran to the Outback Steakhouse at 3500 Mount Moriah Road to call for help. Police said Gamez was at the restaurant shortly before the shooting.

Police arrested Gamez at about 2 a.m. Friday at the nearby SpringHill Suites hotel, at 5310 McFarland Drive, where he was staying. Officers found a weapon in Gamez' hotel room that they believe was used in the shooting, Lopez said.

Gamez, who police say was in town for a family funeral, was charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. He was placed in the Durham County jail and ordered held without bond pending a Monday morning court appearance.

According to court records from Bexar County, Texas, Gamez was due in court there on July 19 on a theft charge. His criminal record in Texas also includes charges for marijuana possession, drunken driving and possession of an unlawful weapon.

The football team was staying at a nearby Comfort Inn and Suites, at 3508 Mount Moriah Road, police said.

"Individuals who were in passing encountered each other," Lopez said. "This was a situation that could have happened in Anytown, USA, and is not representative of the city of Durham."