Family reacts to arrest of two men charged with killing 13-year- - WNCN: News, Weather

Family reacts to arrest of two men charged with killing 13-year-old Durham girl

By Steve Sbraccia

Durham Police have arrested and charged two men with murder in the shooting death of 13-year-old Shakanah China who was killed about a year ago.

China died after a drive-by shooting outside an apartment complex on Atka Court back on May 10, 2011.

Levette Lipscomb, 26, and 19-year-old Brandon Townsend are charged with the murder.

“We can’t bring her back, but there’s joy too; thank God we have some sort of closure,” said Shakanah’s grandmother, Diane Billings.

Shortly after Shakanah was buried, her mother Mimi China moved out of the neighborhood where the shooting happened because it was too painful to live there anymore.

Although she no longer lived in the neighborhood, she kept in touch with those who lived there because she was determined to know who killed her daughter.

“I wasn’t going to stop until they found them,” said Mimi. “If it wasn’t me getting in my car looking, I was on the phone. If I wasn’t on the phone, I had someone on Facebook looking."

She says she’d pass on tidbits of information she gleaned to detectives working the case.

Last week on the anniversary of Shakanah’s murder, family and friends held a vigil at the place where she was shot.

The family believes that brought investigators the final piece of the puzzle.

“Everyone started coming forth and after the vigil I knew they’d be caught,” said Mimi.

Despite the arrests, Shakanah’s death left a hole in the fabric of a family; a little boy who'll never know his older sister; a mother who'll never share any more special moments with her daughter and grandparents who can't dote on her anymore.

“It took a year to find the killer, but like I told her father this morning, it won’t replace her,” said Diane Billings.

"This has never been a cold case.  We've always had leads in this case and we have worked those leads," said Durham Police Acting Deputy Chief Larry Smith. 

"Earlier this week we received a lead that actually allowed us to make an arrest," said Deputy Smith.

Police believe the 7th grader at Lakeview School was not the intended victim of the shooting.  

Shakanah’s family revealed to NBC-17 they were told Shakanah was killed because she happened to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time when shots were fired during a gang initiation.

That street where the teen was murdered has seen a lot of violence in the past few years.

Back in June of 2009, an innocent 16-year-old girl was struck in the back of the head, wounding her, when someone opened fire.

A month later police arrested someone in connection with that shooting.

In 2008, a man was stabbed and nearly beaten to death on Atka Court. He required extensive hospitalization.

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