Argument preceded gunshots in Durham mall parking lot

Apr. 11, 2014 @ 06:51 PM

J.L. Potts, an off-duty Durham County Sheriff’s deputy, heard an argument involving several people in the Northgate Mall parking lot on Thursday.

He approached the group near Dress Barn and Bank of America, planning to intervene, and saw a man firing shots in the direction of Club Boulevard.

“After firing several shots, the man started to run and Deputy Potts chased him,” said Deputy Paul Sherwin, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Potts caught the suspect, identified as Devonte Rashad Keith, and arrested him without further incident.

A caller on Thursday told a 911 operator that she was at Club Boulevard and Gregson Street when she heard “multiple, multiple, multiple shots” and saw people running through the parking lot.

The operator asked how many shots were fired.

“Oh, gosh, it had to be five or six, at least,” the caller said.

Another caller, a woman who lived nearby, reported as many as seven shots fired. She could hear sirens outside, she said.

“I don’t think I’m the only person who heard them,” she told the operator.

Keith, 20, of Glennbrook Drive in Durham was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, discharging a firearm in the city, carrying a concealed gun, resisting an officer and going armed to terror of people. He was held in the Durham County Jail under $1 million bond.

Deputies and Durham police officers detained seven other people for questioning, Sherwin said. Two of them were arrested on unrelated charges from outstanding warrants.

Alvis Gentry, 19, of Sima Avenue in Durham was charged with assault on a female. He was held in the Durham County Jail under $6,000 bond. Gerald Deshawn Melvin, 27, of Durham was charged with operating a vehicle without insurance and reckless driving with wanton disregard. He was released from the Durham County Jail after posting $1,000 bond.

Kammie Michael, spokeswoman for the Durham Police Department, said the incident remains under investigation. Police are still trying to find a silver sedan that was seen leaving the scene, she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

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