Man shot to death near Southpoint Mall

Feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:10 PM

A man was shot to death near a crowded mall Saturday afternoon and left in a parking lot as the shooter or shooters left in getaway Jeep that crashed into two other vehicles, police said.

The victim was identified as Brian Christopher Keys, 24, of Greensboro.

Investigators charged the three occupants of the Jeep Liberty – Monquell Davis, 19, of Lutz Lane; Deshario Mitchell, 18, of Marne Avenue; and Kadeem Johnson, 18, of Umstead Street with murder.

According to a preliminary investigation, it appears Keys was shot inside the Jeep. The victim and suspects were acquaintances, and it does not appear to have been a random act, according to investigators.

Police were called to the 6800 block of Fayetteville Road near The Streets at Southpoint mall shortly before 1 p.m. and found the man lying in the parking lot, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The shooting took place in the lot near World Market at 6807 Fayetteville Road, according to police.

Michael said officers were given a description of a suspect vehicle and got behind one that matched it a short time later on Fayetteville Road. The driver refused to stop, and officers chased it until it crashed near Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

She said three occupants of the vehicle were taken to Durham Police Headquarters for questioning and were charged later in the evening.

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said the victim’s body was transported to the medical examiner’s office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.

“Apparently, they were involved in some type of criminal activity, and it’s not unusual for people in the business of crime to meet where there’s a large population,” Lopez said.

Lopez said preliminary reports indicate that the victim drove his own vehicle to the parking lot to meet the men. He said the victim had parked a few spaces away, walked to the men’s vehicle, got inside and was shot. His body was left in the lot and the suspects drove off.

The suspects’ vehicle crashed into a pickup truck occupied by a man and a young boy, who apparently climbed out of a broken window. The truck landed on its roof.  The two were sitting on a curb when firefighters arrived, Battalion Chief David Griffith of the Durham Fire Department said. Griffith said they did not appear to be hurt.

The suspects’ Jeep hit another car – a small, four-door vehicle, Lopez said.

No injuries were reported.

Lopez said the shooting does not appear to be gang-related, “but we’re not sure what kind of criminal activity they were involved in. It’s obvious that some kind of discord occurred.”