DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A first-grader died after being shot while in an SUV with five other adults and four other children in Durham on Sunday afternoon, police said.
The incident was reported just after 5 p.m. near the 3200 block of Guess Road at West Carver Street, police said in a news release.
“Officers responded to a shooting call and upon arrival, they discovered the child who was possibly shot while inside a vehicle,” said police, who initially reported the incident happened at the Tokyo Express restaurant.
The 7-year-old boy was in a Honda Pilot SUV that was leaving a local pool when he was shot at about 5 p.m., according to police. Shots were fired into the SUV at Hillandale Road and Peppertree Street, police said. The boy died about 5:45 p.m., police said.
The driver of the SUV tried to get the child to a nearby hospital, but the SUV had a flat tire from the gunfire and the vehicle stopped near the Tokyo Express restaurant.
Police responded to that scene and the child was taken to a hospital, but he later died.
The boy’s father was among the adults in the SUV, police said.
Some Tokyo Express customers were shocked when the SUV stopped outside and adults ran inside to get help.
Brian Arvalo and his family had just ordered at Tokyo Express restaurant when he says, “My mom and my sister were sitting. I was grabbing drinks and some lady ran in yelling for help and saying that her baby got shot.”
“We come here all the time, on weekends,” Arvalo said. “We come here late at night before they close. Nothing has ever happened like this, so we were kind of shocked that something like this would happen.”
Arvalo said people in the restaurant thought the shooter was nearby. There was a point when he was scared for his life.
Arvalo says he and his family were hiding inside the kitchen for nearly three hours.
“I mean it’s stuff you see in movies. I’m not used to that. I was just like everything like blurred out because you want to pay attention to one person yelling but you’re trying to make sure everyone around you is OK,” Arvalo said. ‘I’m on the phone with 911 trying to tell them where I’m at because I don’t even know the address here.”
Durham Public Schools released the following statement on Monday:
We are deeply saddened to confirm that the student who lost his life in a senseless act of violence last night was one of our own, a first-grader at Eastway Elementary School.
A follow-up investigation is underway, according to police.
Anyone with information is 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.