Published: Jan 01, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Jan 05, 2012 03:21 PM
By late December Durham had seen 26 homicides and one fatal officer-involved shooting.
The total was not unusual, but the circumstances in several cases were particularly tragic and put homicide-prevention high on the city's civic agenda.
In May, Tyrone Hester fatally shot his 22-month-old daughter, Tyaijah, then killed himself, after the child's mother broke off their relationship.
Just days later, shots fired from a passing van killed 13-year-old Shakanah China as she played outside the family apartment on Atka Court.
Less than a week later, Caron Allen, 17, and Jeremy Turner, 19, apparently shot and killed each at another apartment complex.
In June, one man and three women died in an apparent murder-suicide on N.C. 54. The Durham County Sheriff's Office concluded that Brinton Marcell Millsap, 23, shot Adrianne Stevens, 22, Alexandria Baker Pierce, 23, and Anesha Alia Page-Smith, 24, to death on June 10, then shot and killed himself. Authorities did not speculate on his motive, but relatives and friends said it could have been that Millsap thought he had contracted herpes from one of the women.
Later in June, a high-school football player visiting Durham from Pennsylvania, was shot and killed in a chance encounter in a parking lot. Darrell Turner Jr., 18, died and Thomas Woodson, 15, was wounded when a stranger opened fire during an argument over peanut shells dropped on the pavement. Police arrested and charged Gabriel James Gamez, 22, of San Antonio, Texas, who was visiting Durham for a family funeral.
In December, Mayor Bill Bell told Police Chief Jose L. Lopez to take a "different approach" to homicide prevention.