Editorial: Few answers forthcoming for recent violence

May. 11, 2013 @ 07:05 PM

In little more than a week, we’ve had six shootings that have left two men dead and a fatal bludgeoning in Durham.

Cynics will argue, unfairly, that this isn’t news.

Although our city does have its share of violent crime, it normally seems less concentrated and rapid fire than this.

It’s especially surprising coming as it does on the heels of a report from Police Chief Jose Lopez that crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault are on the decline.

Now we find ourselves asking several questions:

Are the targets chosen purposefully? Are these random attacks? Are they the back-and-forth retaliations of gangs or drug dealers? Are these bad people who are trying to wipe each other out or do they intend to harm innocents? Are people in danger of being caught in the crossfire?

Unfortunately, official answers are in short supply. As The Herald-Sun’s Keith Upchurch has reported, the police won’t talk about motive. They haven’t said much at all, which is disconcerting to us.

So many violent attacks in such a short span of time should warrant comment and assurances to the communities affected that investigators are on the case.

Relative silence sends an entirely different message.

But here’s what we do know so far:

  • Deandre Montez Oliver, 22, was shot to death in front of a house on Glenbrook Drive.
  • Maurice Frank Streeter, 27, was shot outside a strip mall near Fayetteville Street and Burlington Avenue and later died of his wounds.
  • Kevin Ramon Leathers, 41, was found dead in a Guess Road home near Northgate Mall, a victim of blunt-force trauma.
  • A 49-year-old pedestrian on Liberty Street reported that he was shot in the arm by men in a passing vehicle.
  • A 36-year-old man was seriously injured after two men approached and shot him near Alston Avenue. The same night, a mile away, a man was shot in the heel.
  • A man riding in a vehicle on South Elm Street near Alston was shot in the arm by another motorist. In this case, at least, police indicated that the victim and suspect knew each other.
  • No arrests have been made in the homicides, but police have arrested Jamal Dunston, 18, of Lawson Street in connection with one of the other attacks. Investigators also put out wanted alerts about suspects in some of the other attacks, including Michael Maurice “Mike Mike” Gill, 19, of Bacon Street, and Calvin Montrell Harris, 27, of Kingston Mill Court.

We hope police are able to put a halt to whatever has motivated this latest spate of violence.

Maybe you can help.

If you’ve got information about these and other crimes, call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases. Callers never have to identify themselves.