When I met with Shakanah China’s step-grandmother at her office in Durham, she said people are feeling a range of emotions.
Angry because Shakanah, 13, was shot to death in a drive-by, and no one has been arrested and charged with the crime; grateful because bullets missed others standing outside 7 Atka Court in Durham on May 10.
“Everyone was outside,” said Annette Carrington, the step-grandmother. “It was a warm day."
Around 7:30 p.m., a green van rolled down Rochelle Street. As the vehicle approached Atka Court, someone inside the van fired several shots.
“The first or second one nipped her thumb and the third one shot her in the chest,” said Carrington, a program manager and health educator for Durham County.
Shakanah was taken to Duke University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later. Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez has said she was not the intended target, and investigators have asked the public for information about a fight that reportedly occured on Atka Court earlier in the week of the homicide.
Police announced a Durham CrimeStoppers reward in July for information leading to an arrest, but four months after the shooting, the murder remains unsolved.
“Shakanah’s death made national headlines and after that death, there’s nothing,” Carrington said. “You don’t have follow-up reports or anything.”
Shakanah was a special girl, she said.
She loved the cell phone she got for Christmas, enjoyed getting her hair braided and played with stuffed animals. Shakanah was also serious about her future. She enrolled in “Together Everyone Accomplishes Something,” a teen pregnancy prevention program that Carrington helps manage for the county. For nine months, teens are taught life skills and perform community service. Shakanah had one month left.
“That’s an indication she wanted to stay on track,” Carrington said.
On Facebook, a public profile has been created in Shakanah’s name with 1,325 people following it as of this writing. The first post on the Facebook wall came three days after her death, and it reads, “senseless acts takes [sic] away lives.” Someone replied, “Especially the innocent ones who havnt [sic] even begun to live their life.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Durham Police Investigator Pate at (919) 560-4440 ext. 29332 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases. Callers do not have to identify themselves.