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Durham police charge man with killing Navy veteran

Police car lights. (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)

Durham police have arrested a suspect in the shooting of 41-year-old Derek Sterling last month, authorities said.

Frederick Johnson, 52, of Durham has been charged with first-degree murder in Sterling’s death.

Lt. Quincey Tait, a spokesperson for Durham police, said officers were dispatched to Hillsborough Road on the evening of Aug. 30. They discovered a man, later identified as Sterling, who had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have not provided a motive for the killing.

Sterling was raised in Hillsborough, N.C., graduated from Orange High School and was a lifelong athlete. He attended Gardner-Webb University on a soccer scholarship and transferred to Appalachian State to pursue a business degree. Sterling’s obituary said he served in the Navy and was a Carolina sports fan.

“He was charismatic, and you could always see a huge smile on his face that would brighten his big blue eyes,” the obituary said.

On Friday, Tait announced Johnson is being held in the Durham County jail without bail.

According to court records, Johnson has previously faced multiple assault charges dating back to 1991.

Police are asking anyone with information in this case to contact Investigator J. Sokal at 919-560-4440 ext. 29238 or CrimeStoppers at 919- 83-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.


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