NCCU students want answers in classmate’s death, walk out in protest
A 23-year-old North Carolina Central University student was shot two weeks ago at his Durham apartment complex by a security guard. The company said it was in self-defense, but students at NCCU do not believe the claims.
“The circumstances surrounding his death are extremely questionable,” said Jamielyn Riggin.
Around 10:15 p.m. on Sept. 17, officers with the Durham Police Department responded to the Campus Crossings at Durham apartments, in the 1400 block of Cornwallis Road, where they found 23-year-old DeAndre Marquise Ballard suffering from a gunshot wound.
Ballard was transported to a local hospital, where he died.
Riggin organized a campus-wide walkout on Monday. Dozens of students left class in protest.
“No, Deandre and I were not close friends at all, but he is a fellow classmate. He is a fellow Eagle and we take that with pride,” she said.
Ballard’s mother said she was told her son was trying to break into cars and got into a tussle with the security guard. She and others question that narrative.
“My main question is just basically, why? Because I had him in class. He answered every question. He always volunteered to do stuff. He was a general good person,” said Lauryn Cutler, an NCCU student.
Amaiya Gaddie spoke at the protest. She said she has concerns about safety at the apartments. Her brother was killed there in 2013.
“He was shot six times by a person who didn’t go to the school, but was in Campus Crossings,” she said.
Students vow to keep pushing for information.
“We have pride here as Eagles, and if we are gonna soar, we are soar as one,” Riggin said.
Police have not charged anyone in connection with Ballard’s death.
Ballard’s family has asked that the SBI take over the investigation. Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols confirms he has spoken with family about this and is considering it.
Ballard’s funeral was held Friday in New Bern, his hometown.