Just before noon Friday, Danielle Dervin’s two boys climbed on Rockwood Park’s blue slides and explored the sidewalk path under the trees.
While the park was quiet, just two days earlier it had been roped off with yellow crime-scene tape after a daytime shooting left 27-year dead Denzel Holloway dead and his 17-year-old cousin in the hospital.
Dervin, however, wasn’t worried about her safety Friday as her 8- and 3 1/2-year-olds played, and Bobo, a hound and Labrador mix, lay beside the bench she was sitting on.
“It’s totally fine,” said Dervin, who lives in South Durham but visits the park often, especially in the summer. “This is one of our favorite parks.”
Police officers found Holloway on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, police said. His cousin was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“I don’t think this is a problem that is about the park,” said Corye Dunn, 41, who has lived next to Rockwood Park for six years and met Dervin and her family there. “My concerns are about a much broader challenge of addressing gun violence in our community.”
While there have been some high-profile shootings and killings this year, including the death of 7-year-old Kamari Munerlyn, the number of homicides in Durham is down compared to last year.
As of Friday, there have been 14 homicides in Durham plus one fatal officer-involved shooting this year, according to Police Department spokeswoman Kammie Michael. There were 22 homicides by this date last year.
As of Friday afternoon, no one had been charged in Wednesday’s shooting, Michael wrote in an email. The incident does not appear to have been random, according to investigators.
Homicides reflect only part of the city’s gun violence.
A bullet hit a woman in the leg when a car pulled alongside the one she was driving on U.S. 70 near Holloway Street late Monday and someone began shooting, police said.
Rockwood Park is surrounded by the Parkside, Rockwood, Forest Hills and Long Meadow neighborhoods. It is near the shopping center that houses the Thai Cafe, The Boot and Wine Authorities.
Holloway, a father of a 2 1/2 year old, lived with his grandmother in Parkside in a two-story home with a yard that was dotted with children’s toys Friday.
Residents who lived near Holloway said they don’t have concerns for their safety in the typically quiet neighborhood but want to know more about what happened.
“Denzel was a wonderful father, son, brother and friend,” according to a statement from his family, provided by Stacey Holloway, one of his brothers. “He was truly a loving and caring person. Everyone Denzel touched in the community was left with something positive, due to him having one of the purest hearts.”
Mike Bourquin, 37, who has lived in the Parkside neighborhood near the park for about a year, said he saw Holloway at the park and their children had played together.
Bourquin says he hopes the police arrest the person responsible.
“I think it is more about waiting for the details to come out,” he said. “It’s more sad than anything.”
Still, his family plans to continue their weekly trips to the park. In fact, Bourquin expects more people to use the park as a show of solidarity.
“I almost feel our community will become stronger,” he said.
Want to help?
A crowdfunding campaign has been set up for Denzel Holloway’s son.
For more information, go to https://www.gofundme.com/ynd2th-averys-fund.