Following the shooting at the Streets of Southpoint Mall on Black Friday that injured three people, Durham City Councilmember Mark-Anthony Middleton told The News & Observer that police pay and staffing shortages will be among the top priorities as the city council continues to fight gun violence.
As of Monday, one of the individuals shot, a man, was still hospitalized. The other two people shot, a man and 10-year-old boy who was hit by a gun ricochet, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries on Friday and released the same day, per an email from the Durham Police Department wrote to The N&O.
Following the events, one individual was detained; however, no arrests have been made.
At least one weapon was recovered from the scene, said Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews at a press conference following the shooting.
Durham police plan to share descriptions of those involved in the shooting with the public once the information is available.
“We will be making several arrests, I’m certain, during the course of this investigation,” Andrews said.
As of Nov. 13, 243 people had been shot in Durham so far this year. According to police records, 38 of those 243 have died.
“Shootings in this city have got to stop,” Andrews said. “It’s got to stop. It’s got to stop.”
Middleton told The N&O on Monday that he did not want to make any assumptions about what policy action Durham Mayor-Elect Elaine O’Neal and Durham City Council might move toward but said that the shootings show the need for a multi-pronged approach to address a rise in violent crimes in Durham.
“Addressing the issue of vacancies in our police department is going to be a top priority for us,” Middleton told The N&O Monday. “And addressing the issue of pay disparity between Durham and other comparable cities is going to be at the top of mind for us.”
Only 54% of officer positions were filled the day of the Southpoint shooting, WRAL’s Sarah Krueger reported. By bringing in officers to work overtime, that figure increased to 69%.
“We know that our ability to respond to things that happen, like the issue at Southpoint Mall, requires adequate staffing,” he said. “And the response is not just getting there to secure the premises, but also having the personnel to investigate these issues and lead to us getting folks who do things like this off the street.”
Friday night, the management of the Streets at Southpoint issued a statement addressing the event.
“Streets at Southpoint is a destination for the community to gather,” the statement reads. “We are saddened and outraged that we were the location for such a senseless act of violence among a group of individuals. Right now we are focusing on the well-being of those impacted by today’s incident. We are grateful to the Durham Police Department for their diligence and partnership. We will offer support to their investigation.”
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Kathryn Thomas is a Trinity junior and news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.