Family remembers 16-year-old slaying victim, the 23rd in Durham this year

Watch: Bereaved grandmother remembers 16-year-old killed in Durham

Vanessa Graves-Cousin talks about her 16-year-old grandson Torry Trueluck's love of basketball. Torry died after being shot in Durham on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.
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Vanessa Graves-Cousin talks about her 16-year-old grandson Torry Trueluck's love of basketball. Torry died after being shot in Durham on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.

When the social worker at the hospital said a doctor would be in soon to talk to the family, Vanessa Graves-Cousin said she had a dark feeling about her 16-year-old grandson who was shot Wednesday night.

“Oh no. Can’t be. Oh my God,” Graves-Cousin, 54, said she thought. “I knew.”

Around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night officers heard the sound of multiple gunshots near the intersection of Liberty and Elizabeth streets. While investigating, police learned Torry Trueluck had been wounded and transported to a local hospital in a private vehicle.

Torry died at the hospital a short time later. His death marks the 23rd homicide in the city this year, according to Kammie Michael, spokeswoman with the Durham Police Department.

Arvestella Trueluck, lost her youngest of her three children, she said.

“Very well known, very popular kid,” Arvestella Trueluck, 36, of Durham said. “Loved. Respected. Just a normal teen, did what he needed to do. He had a few struggles in school, but he was working on those.”

Torry Trueluck
Torry Trueluck, 16, was shot and killed in Durham on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2017. Courtesy of the Torry Tueluck’s family

He was 6 foot 1, and he loved basketball.

“That was his heart,” she said. “He has been into basketball since he was 2.”

Torry had played basketball with various youth leagues since he was 5, his mother said. He played at Neal Middle School in seventh and eighth grade, and at Southern High last year. Torry was enrolled at Northern High at the time of his death, she said.

On Arvestella Trueluck’s living room wall is one photo. It’s a blown up photograph of Torry traveling down a basketball court holding a ball. He was 11, she said. He had just stolen the ball and was on his way to a slam dunk.

Another time that year, he threw the ball from half court just before the buzzer.

“He was like, ‘Mama, I just did what the coach said, and it went in,’ ” Arvestella Trueluck said.

Traron Trueluck described his younger brother as energetic and outgoing.

“He loved to talk with just about anybody,” Traron Trueluck, 22, said. “You could be a brand new person, he’ll talk to you like he knew you for years.”

“I loved him,” his brother said. “I wished he could at least graduate.”

Torry’s uncle, Arvester Thompson, said his kids looked up to their cousin.

“He was a big cousin mentor to my kids,” Thompson, 33, said. “He’s truly going to be missed.”

Graves-Cousin, Torry’s grandmother, said he was sweet and sneaky.

“Just lovable,” she said.

Arvestella Trueluck said Torry had started to get in trouble over the last month or so. On Wednesday night, she thought he was at a neighbor’s house.

Graves-Cousin said she doesn’t know what happened Wednesday night, but she was shocked to learn her grandson was shot, she said. She thinks he knew that he might be in danger, she said, because he started locking the door behind him in the past week, which was unusual.

“That wasn’t like him,” Graves-Cousin said.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges