Imani Taborn was driving down Club Boulevard when she learned her 15-year-old brother had died after being shot in Durham.
“I just stopped in the middle of the road,” she said.
“Stop playing,” Taborn told her other brother who had called with the news Sunday. It wasn’t a joke.
“My heart broke,” Taborn said. “It shattered in that moment.”
Ian Chance “Baby” Wells, a freshmen at Person High, was adored by his family, full of brothers and sisters and nephew and nieces, his sister said. He had grown up in Durham, but moved to Roxboro with his mother about a year ago, his sister said.
He played football and the drums and acted like everyone’s big brother even though he was the youngest of his six siblings, said Taborn, 26, of Burlington.
176 reported shooting incidents
Officers found Wells after responding to a reported crash at a construction site on South Alston Avenue near Angier Avenue around 12:41 a.m. Sunday, according to police.
He had been shot and was taken to the hospital, where he died. His death is being investigated as a homicide, police said.
So far this year, there have been 176 shooting incidents, including a 13-year-old shot in the leg while sleeping in her home a week ago, and seven homicides, ABC11 reported.
Last year, there were more than 966 reported shooting incidents and 318 people wounded by gunfire, 33 of them fatally, according to the Durham Police Department.
In 2020, about 10 children ages 6 to 15 were shot, as well as 33 16- and 17-year-olds.
‘All right, sis, I love you.’
On Saturday evening, Wells was hanging out with family members, including his sister, in Durham before he left around 11 p.m.
Wells told his family that he was going to the store to get a drink and meet his cousin, Taborn said. He was in his sister’s green minivan.
“All right, sis, I love you. I will see you tomorrow,” she said he told her.
His sister was told by a witness at the store that Wells had gone in and bought something to drink, come back out to the car and moved it from near the gas pumps to the side of the building.
“He got out of the car to meet whoever he was meeting, and whoever he was meeting, they shot him,” Taborn said.
He then ran back to the minivan and took off down Alston Avenue, fleeing from the shooter, Taborn said.
“They went after him. They shot out the car,” she said. “They ran him off the road.”
‘One of my most cherished students’
On Wells’ memory wall on Ellis D. Jones & Sons funeral home’s website, teachers and friends described Wells as a caring kid with an infectious smile.
“Ian was and will always be one of my most cherished students,” wrote Caroline Brickhouse, Wells’ seventh grade science teacher at Githens Middle School.
In an email, Brickhouse wrote that Wells brought clothes and shoes for students in need, without any prompting. He stood up for others kids and was quick to speak out against bullying.
“He worked every day to become a better version of himself and brought light and joy into the lives of his peers, teachers, and support staff in our building,” she wrote.
The death shook the family’s world, Taborn said.
Taborn’s daughter and niece keep calling for him, she said, but a 1-year-old and 3-year-old don’t understand when she tells them that he is not coming home any more.
His mother and grandmother are waiting for him to come through the front door.
“Hey Grandma,” he would say.
There are no words to describe how this has affected the family, Taborn said.
“It’s an emptiness. It’s an incompleteness,” Taborn said. “Everybody is distraught. It’s just, everyone is still in shock.”
Police have not announced any arrests or released other information in the case.
2 teens fatally hot in Durham in past week
Wells was one of two teens fatally shot in Durham in the past week.
Officers responding to a shooting call shortly after 7 a.m. Monday found Joshua Garner dead in a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix at Kirby Street and Chowan Avenue. The 18-year-old was a student at Hillside High School.
Police also have not announced any arrests or released additional information in that case.