Durham community gathers to remember those lost to violence

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — With each sound of the bell, came a reminder of those lost to violence in Durham County.

Next month will mark 20 years since Diane Jones’ son, David Bullock, was killed. The case remains unsolved.

“Murder is so devastating to families,” she said.

Many more families felt that devastation in 2016, which was Durham’s deadliest year since the early 1980s, with 44 killed.

This week alone, John Pruitt Jr. was gunned down at a gas station on Guess Road and Keneth Bailey Jr. died in a deadly officer-involved shooting.

“If everybody just gives up, nothing will ever change,” Jones said.

Thursday, people gathered at Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church to remember those who are gone.

“We understand that there is a connection we all share in the eyes of God and his image that transcends whatever the barriers of hopelessness or systems are,” said Ben Haas of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham.

Though Thursday was a somber occasion, Jones chooses to see the good she’s been able to do because of this. She now works with families as they cope with the aftermath of a murder.

“That’s what made me say that I’ve got to do something,” she said. “I can’t save him, but I can help somebody else’s child.”

She said she’s seen progress with programs such as Bull City United, which has been working to reduce violence in neighborhoods. But she thinks there need to be more free programs for young people to keep them engaged in the community.

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