NC Central University shooting press conference

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Two days after two men were shot dead in a parking lot, the chancellor of Central University of NC said on Monday he was advocating for more resources to tackle violence in and around the Durham campus.

Speaking at a press conference, Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye said the university had spent more than $ 3 million on campus security, including installing more than 900 360-degree cameras and demanding one entry per key card for all buildings.

He said campus police responded to Saturday’s shooting in seconds and saved lives and the NCCU was a safe campus.

“However, what we cannot control is the crimes on the streets of Durham and around the perimeter of our campus,” he said. “We are a public institution and an open campus. We cannot close our campus with iron fences and gates. “

“This press conference is a call to action,” Akinleye continued. “We implore our city, counties and state officials to commit to devoting more resources and attention to tackling crime issues in Durham, so that the lives of the people on our campus, in the neighborhoods around us and in the wider community of Durham can be protected.

“We will not live in fear or put our health and well-being at risk due to gun violence and crime in our community,” he said. “It must end today.”

The press conference came just two days after two men were shot dead in the parking lot next to the Latham Parking Deck on East Lawson Street.

The two men – identified on Monday as Shamori Brown, 21, and Tavis Rhodes, 18 – died in hospital, police said.

NCCU officials said on Sunday that no one involved was in the academic community, and police said on Monday that the killings were not a random act. They said they were looking for a black Nissan Altima allegedly involved in the incident.

The shooting occurred during a home football game against Winston-Salem State and locked down the nearby O’Kelly Riddick Stadium.

Within hours of the shooting, Durham and Campus Police escorted those in the stadium to their cars.

Previous requests rejected

At Monday’s press conference, Akinleye said the university had asked the city to install gunshot monitoring technology. The ShotSpotter company had offered the city a free trial, which the city council rejected.

The chancellor said the city could also dedicate more patrols to the area.

This isn’t the first time the university has spoken to the city about the police, The News & Observer previously reported.

In 2014, NCCU administrators expressed their support in Durham for the construction of a new police headquarters on Fayetteville Street.

The city has put the head office downtown on Main Street.

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This story was originally published September 20, 2021 3:24 pm.

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Kate Murphy covers higher education for The News & Observer. Previously, she covered higher education for the Cincinnati Enquirer in the Investigation and Corporate Team and USA Today Network. Her work has won state awards in Ohio and Kentucky and she was recently named the 2019 Education Writers Association finalist for digital storytelling.
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