Teenager killed in string of Durham shootings, mother calls for change

A wave of gun violence gripped Durham Thursday night, with three shootings in just two hours.

Among the victims was 16-year-old Cassidy Johnson, who was outside his home at McDougal Terrace in Durham.

Latoya Edwards, Johnson’s mother, expressed her heartbreak and frustration.

“It’s just too much gun violence going on around here. People are putting guns in the wrong people’s hands, thinking they’re play toys – they’re not and it takes people’s lives. They killed my son,” Edwards said.

This wasn’t even the first time gun violence had struck the family. Just a week (or two weeks) ago, Johnson’s twin brother was also shot on the same street in a drive-by incident.

Durham Mayor Leonardo Williams acknowledged the ongoing issue and his commitment to finding solutions.

He says what happened Thursday shows the need for more resources for young people in this area.

Edwards says the community needs support.

“It’s crazy I just want it to stop. I shouldn’t have to bury my son,” Edwards said. “My baby was shot in his chest. They had to open my baby up, to jumpstart his heart. Do you know how that feels? They cutting on my baby. And I can’t even save him.”

Edwards spoke about feeling a pain no parent should have to experience.

WRAL spoke to Mayor Williams about an initiative he is working on called ‘Durham is Dope’.

“I’m creating a capacity for these families to be able to tap into, for these mentor organizations to be able to tap into,” Mayor Leonardo Williams of Durham said.

When people in Bull City buy merchandise with the slogan ‘Durham is Dope’, that fund will then go to mentorship organizations and other resources in the area to help the black and brown boys and young men who make up the majority of offenders in Bull City.

“They are still children. They are still some mother’s son, some father’s son, some sister’s brother. They are still human, they are still Bull City residents. We cannot stop our efforts until this entire culture is shifted,” Williams said.

Mayor Williams said he won’t create new mentorship organizations because Durham already has plenty.

The funds will provide existing organizations with the resources they need to work in these communities and guide young people in the right direction.

WRAL.com – Local News