Mom of Durham boy hit by stray bullet a year ago left with high medical bills, frustration as shootings continue

North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — As shootings continue almost every day in Durham, one mom is speaking out and calling for city leaders to take action, a year after her 11-year-old son was struck and injured by a stray bullet while riding in a car.

The mom, who doesn’t want to reveal her name, said her family was on their way to the boy’s grandmother’s house when a stray bullet flew into their car on Sept. 18 around 9 p.m. near Dearborn Drive and Apollo Street.

Her son was struck in the leg. She said he spent two months in the hospital, went into surgery every three days, and it took him six months to walk again.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to walk again,” the boy said. “When they released me, it was hard getting up the stairs.”

His mom said her hospital bills came to $132,000 and she said they are still dealing with the anxiety and trauma of what happened.

“I still live in fear,” his mom said. “It’s a struggle for us daily trying to deal with the aftermath.”

Meanwhile, the shootings are still happening in Durham, as nearly the same amount of people have been shot this year as there were this time last year.

According to the latest data from Durham Police, 205 people have been shot so far this year and 234 people were shot this time last year in the city.

The mother is questioning why city leaders are not doing more to address the problem.

“We vote people into these positions, and you have to ask yourself, ‘as leaders, what are they doing?'” she said.

While shootings continue, Durham city council members are considering giving themselves a $10,000 raise. They argue they need a living wage of $35,000 a year because they say it’s difficult to have a second job with all the work that goes into being a city council member.

But the boy’s grandmother argues that money would be better spent on something else.

“They should put that $10,000 raise into solving some of these problems in Durham,” she said “We need these problems solved. There are mothers crying, there are mothers burying their children, that shouldn’t be happening. It’s time for the madness to stop.”

The wounded boy’s mom said city council members should ask communities what they need. She argues it’s the Black families who are disproportionately impacted by the shootings.

“Get out in the community, walk the streets,” she said. “Go to these young boys and say ‘hey, what’s going on? What can I do? What do you need?'”

Since this boy was struck by a stray bullet last year, at least three more children have been shot and injured by stray bullets in Durham.

One 11-year-old girl was shot in the head while riding in a car near the intersection of Guess and Horton roads on Sept. 22, 2020.

An 11-year-old boy was shot when a stray bullet flew into his bedroom while he was sleeping at his home on Thornwood Drive on Jan. 22, 2021.

And a 13-year-old girl was struck by a stray bullet while sleeping at her home on Weldon Terrace on March 31, 2021.

While all four children survived, Durham police said all case investigations are ongoing.

If you have any information, you are asked to call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200.

CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

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