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Dozens of shell casings found outside Durham home where girl was shot, boy injured

Two children injured in Durham shooting

Two children were taken to the hospital early Monday morning after being shot inside their home, according to police. The children, both under the age of 16, were injured in an incident that was reported around 12:30 a.m.on McNeil Lane in Durham.
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Two children were taken to the hospital early Monday morning after being shot inside their home, according to police. The children, both under the age of 16, were injured in an incident that was reported around 12:30 a.m.on McNeil Lane in Durham.

Police found dozens of shell casings outside a Durham home where an 8-year-old girl was shot and an 11-year-old boy injured, court documents show.

The bullets left multiple holes in the duplex. They cut through the front of the home, destroying banisters on the second-story porch, and, in some cases, traveling through the house and out the back.

Around 12:30 a.m. Monday neighbors heard gunshots ring through Franklin Village at the corner of Blacknall Street and McNeil Lane, located near Eastway Elementary School and the Durham Rescue Mission.

Witnesses saw two men get out of a light-colored SUV in a nearby parking lot and fire weapons toward the home on the 600 block of McNeil Lane, a Durham Police Department search warrant states.

The casings — a metal jacket housing the bullet that discharges when a gun is fired — were found in the grass near the parking lot.

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Bullet holes riddle a second floor window of an apartment duplex on McNeil Lane in Durham Tuesday, July 16, 2019. An 8-year-old girl was shot and an 11-year-old boy injured early Monday morning after bullets were fired into their home early Monday morning on McNeil Lane in Durham. Travis Long tlong@newsobserver.com

The girl was shot in the back and and the boy’s arm was injured by debris, police have said. Their injuries don’t appear to be life-threatening, police said.

One of the children was in a second-floor bedroom, a Durham search warrant states. Another was in a room on the third floor.

It was far from the first shooting in the neighborhood.

In an apartment building across the street, screens are still torn from bullet holes, neighbors said. A Durham police report indicates a shooting was reported at 8:30 p.m. April 30 that damaged three cars and a window and/or wall. There were four people home at the time, including one juvenile, the report states.

Resident Doris Pettiford, 62, was in a deep sleep when the bullets started flying into the neighboring apartment in the duplex Monday.

“I just heard all that banging,” she said. “And that is when I was like, ‘Is that a shooting?’ and I jumped up and ran to see if the kids were OK.”

Her three grandchildren, ages 10, 11 and 13, were frozen in fear, she said.

When the gunfire stopped, the family eased down the stairs and found two bullet marks on their door and the front of the home.

The many bullets also left holes in some of her neighbors’ upstairs balcony rail balusters, even cutting one in half.

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Crime tape is tied to a tree outside an apartment duplex on McNeil Lane in Durham Tuesday, July 16, 2019. An 8-year-old girl was shot and an 11-year-old boy injured early Monday morning after bullets were fired into their home early Monday morning on McNeil Lane in Durham. Travis Long tlong@newsobserver.com

While Pettiford still feels safe in her neighborhood, she said she is going to have to convince her grandchildren.

After the shooting, one had a nightmare that the shooter had returned and another crawled into her bed because he was scared to sleep in his room.

“He just said he would feel better if he could sleep close to somebody,” Pettiford said.

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Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.
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