NCCU Chancellor calls on Durham officials to address violence following campus shooting

The victims, ages 18 and 21, were not students at the school, officials said.
NCCU

North Carolina Central University Chancellor Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye said city, county and state officials should devote more resources to combating violent crime following an on-campus shooting Saturday that left two men dead.

The victims were not students or associated with the university, school officials said.

The shooting happened in a parking lot near the O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium as a NCCU football game against Winston Salem-State University was underway.

The campus was placed on lockdown after the shooting, and more than 5,000 fans were secured in the stadium as campus and city police officers responded.

During a press conference Monday, Akinleye said the campus police were able to response quickly to the shooting because of a $3 million investment in “state-of-the-art technology and security on the campus.” 

Over the past three years, the chancellor said, the school has installed nearly a thousand 360-degree cameras, key-entry locks on all buildings, emergency blue lights, and more patrol officers. 

However, Akinleye said, security systems alone are not enough to keep students and the community safe from gun violence. 

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He said the the press conference was a “call to action” for Durham officials to do more. 

“This is a matter of health and safety,” Akinleye said. “We will not live in fear or have our health and well being at risk due to gun violence around our community.

” As chancellor,” he said, “I lead the charge to stand up for and safeguard students and the community. I ask that our public sector partners join us in this fight.”

QCity Metro reached out to Durham Mayor Steve Schewel and the Durham City Council for comment. Neither had responded by late Monday.

As of Aug. 28, the Durham Police Department had investigated 33 criminal homicides, up from 23 at that same time the previous year. And while national homicide rates have declined since the the 1990s, many major cities — including Charlotte — have reported spikes in violent crimes in recent years.

What police know

Maj. Walter Tate, Durham Police Department gives an update on Sept 20. on the fatal campus shooting at North Carolina Central University. Photo: Screenshot

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday, police responded to a shooting on NCCU’s campus between Dupree Street and Lawson Street. , where officers found two men with gunshot wounds in an open-surface parking lot near the football stadium. 

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The victims, Tavis Rhodes, 18, and Shamori Brown, 21, were taken to a hospital where they died a short time later. 

At the Monday press conference, Maj. Walter Tate with the Durham Police Department said the “incident does not appear to be random.” The suspect was believed to have been driving a black Nissan Altima, he said

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator Mitchell at 919-560-4440 Ext 29335.

Sarafina Wright
Sarafina covers Historic West End under a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She earned a journalism degree from Howard University. Email news tips to sarafinawright@qcitymetro.com or connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @sarafinasaid.

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