Deadly shootings involving minors underway in Durham, mother of killed teenager says ‘we have to do better’

DURHAM, NC (WNCN) – As 2021 draws to a close, five minors have been shot and killed in Durham, according to the latest data from Durham Police.

This is up from the four miners shot dead last year.

According to police data, so far this year 25 minors, aged 1 to 17, have been shot dead from January to November this year. But since then, CBS 17 has reported at least seven other minors who were shot dead in December.

The total number of juveniles slaughtered this year is slightly lower than last year, when 47 juveniles were slaughtered in 2020.

This year, most of the young victims of shooting are 16 and 17 year olds where 18 people were shot, according to police data. Six children aged 6 to 15 were shot and 1 child aged 1 to 5 was shot.

So what is behind some of these shootings involving minors and what needs to be done to stop them?

Ian Wells, 15, was shot dead on April 3 at a gas station on Alston Avenue just before midnight. He was taken to hospital where he later died.

Ian’s mother, Karen Wells, remembers her son as a bright, bubbly teenager who has never met a stranger.

“He was a joker. He was loved by so many people, ”Wells said. “I was just blessed to have it in my life for the time that I did it.”

Wells said she was in disbelief when she got the call her son had been shot on.

“It was one of my worst nightmares than getting a call,” Wells said. “It’s a call that no parent wants to receive.”

According to the warrants, Ian Wells had gone to meet another miner to purchase a magazine for a firearm. The warrant stated that the suspects attempted to steal his weapon. It was then that he was shot.

Wells said she didn’t know her son went to buy a magazine for a gun.

“It hurts to know that, because I didn’t know he was doing that,” Well said. “The right people need to be held accountable for the role they played, which includes legislators, guardians, parents, and that includes myself. We, as a community, must do better.

CBS 17 has contacted Durham Police to find out what is behind most shootings involving minors. Police have yet to respond.

According to some stories CBS 17 covered this year, in at least two separate incidents, an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were hit by stray bullets while sleeping in their bed. Both children were treated for non-life threatening injuries and survived.

In other shootings, such as the deadly Mathison Street shooting on December 13, six people between the ages of 12 and 19 were shot dead while riding in a stolen SUV around 3 a.m.

Police have not yet released details of what led to the shooting or a possible motive, but said it was not a random incident.

Wells said that as a single mom she had asked for help raising her oldest sons in the past because she wanted to make sure they didn’t get into trouble.

But she said there appears to be a lack of preventative youth programs in Durham Region.

“We need programs in place. Preventative measures are the key, ”Wells said. “It’s the difference between life or death, incarceration or being a model citizen.”

In recent weeks, Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal has said it takes the whole community to help reduce gun violence in the community.

She called on businesses to provide internships for youth and people in the community to volunteer 2.5 to 5 hours per week of community service outside of their regular circles.

O’Neal also said the city is working on a program that will track young people in Durham and help them access mentoring and mental health services.

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