Durham County

Mother of 7-year-old killed in Durham drive-by says she knows who fired shots

Kamari Munerlyn, middle, with his father Theo Munerlyn and aunt Mika Mitchell in this photograph from 2015.
Kamari Munerlyn, middle, with his father Theo Munerlyn and aunt Mika Mitchell in this photograph from 2015. Courtesy of family

The mother of the 7-year-old boy who died from a gunshot Sunday says she has been the target of three other shootings since January 2016.

Felicia Parker is the mother of Kamari Munerlyn, who died Sunday after someone shot into a Honda Pilot SUV around 5 p.m.

Parker was shot in January 2016 while she was in an apartment at the McDougald Terrace public housing community, according to police.

“I was in the house, and the bullet came in the window and shot me,” Parker said in an interview.

In early 2017, someone shot at her car at a gas station while her sister was driving it, Parker said.

And in April, Parker was visiting McDouglad Terrace. Her car wouldn’t start, and she left to get help. When she returned she, found bullet holes in her car.

Parker thinks the person who shot at her car in the two incidents this year is the same person who shot her son Sunday.

“I know who shot in the car,” Parker said.

Parker isn’t sure why they are targeting her, she said. They are possibly trying to get to her boyfriend.

“I don’t know what is going on. It’s a lot,” she said. “I haven’t even been around him.”

“The incident doesn’t appear to be random and investigators are following promising leads,” police spokesman Wil Glenn wrote in an email.

Police have interviewed several people but made no arrests.

“We are working aggressively to identify the people involved,” Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis said.

The shooting

On Sunday, Parker and Kamari had finished swimming at a pool at a Durham apartment complex.

Kamari, Parker, her boyfriend, three other adults and four other kids piled into the gray SUV, heading to Parker’s brother’s home to grill some hotdogs.

They noticed another vehicle following them on Hillandale Road. The vehicle followed them for two minutes, and they were trying to lose it, Parker said. When they started to turn, about eight shots rang out.

A witness told investigators that a vehicle occupied by several people started to tailgate the Honda Pilot before it sped up and pulled beside the moving Honda SUV. Several shots were fired at the Honda, Police Chief C.J Davis said at a Monday news briefing.

One of the SUV’s tires was punctured by a bullet, and the driver pulled over. The Honda stopped in the parking lot of the Tokyo Express on Guess Road.

Parker was in the second row of seats, and Kamari was in the third back row.

“He said, ‘Mom, I think I am shot,” Parker said. He reached over, Parker said, and she saw blood gushing out of her son.

Parker called 911. She was crying, screaming, asking for someone to help her little boy.

“He’s not waking up,” she told the dispatcher.

“We know exactly who did it,” another woman told the dispatcher. “We know exactly where he live at.”

Police officers responded to the shooting call at 4:59 p.m. and a Durham Police K9 officer performed CPR on the 7-year-old until an ambulance arrived.

Kamari was the only one injured. EMS workers took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Family grieves

Relatives said Kamari’s father, Theo Munerlyn, wanted to move with the boy to Arizona to flee the violence in Durham. Theo Munerlyn had dropped his son off at his mother’s on Sunday, relatives said.

“It was horrible situation where they were living. Dangerous,” said Delores Baker, the father’s cousin.

Kamari was a first grader at Eastway Elementary School. He loved swimming, playing with cars and the cartoon “PAW Patrol,” his relatives said

“It was his favorite show,” said his aunt, Mika Mitchell, 24, who lives in Arizona.

Parker’s sister and Kamari’s aunt Jontae Cannady, 27, said he loved school.

The women said they were devastated.

“It’s a nightmare,” Baker said. “I don’t know how to put that into words. Devastated to the 25th power.”

A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to help pay for Kamari’s funeral: http://bit.ly/2s9A8aZ

Investigation

One adult male passenger in the Honda Pilot fled the shooting scene on foot before police arrived, and Davis said two other adult male passengers left the scene and went to the hospital.

Glenn said police do not think the shooting is related to another drive-by shooting Sunday outside of Emerald City Ultra Bar and Lounge on Chapel Hill Road.

“What goes through people’s minds?” Durham City Manager Thomas Bonfield said after the police briefing. “To think that you would shoot an occupied vehicle, no matter how mad you were with somebody, no matter what the situation was, it’s hard to imagine.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator J. Mitchell at 919-560-4440 or to call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers do not have to identify themselves.

News researcher David Raynor contributed to this story.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636

How to help

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator J. Mitchell at 919-560-4440 or to call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers do not have to identify themselves.

  Comments