Chapel Hill Police responded Wednesday to a report of a one-man home invasion on Cotton Street, just a little after midnight.
Police got the call at 12:36 a.m. When they arrived at the scene, the suspect, 21-year-old Maalik Antonio Burris of Durham, was running away. Police caught and arrested him.
Lt. Josh Mecimore of the Chapel Hill Police Department said it’s believed Burris may know at least one occupant of the residence.
“The officer said that at least one of the residents had met this person before,” said Mecimore. “So – not a complete stranger.”
Burris is charged with first degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and injury to personal property. Burris allegedly had a gun, and fired a single shot into a wall during a scuffle with the home’s occupants.
No one was injured by the gunshot, but Burris was transported to UNC Hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.
“I think he sustained a laceration to the back of his head,” said Mecimore.
Mecimore said there were four people at the home when Burris allegedly broke in through a window.
“At least two reported that they were UNC students,” he added.
The lieutenant said there is no universal “right way” for victims to handle a crime situation like this, because every one is different.
But there is one obvious way to help prevent break-ins.
“The biggest recommendation I could make related to the incident is to lock your doors and windows,” said Mecimore, “because this person came in through either an unlocked or open window.”
The area where the break-in occurred has a mix of students and local residents. Mecimore noted that while no area in Chapel Hill is particularly prone to home invasions, UNC students are uniquely vulnerable.
“We do find that there are areas where there are mostly or have a high number of students that there are certain times of the year where we have more break-ins,” said Mecimore.
Usually, these crimes don’t occur while someone is at home. The vast majority occur during the day, while people are at work or at school.
Holiday breaks and fall breaks are times when that is most likely to happen, so students are advised to take valuables with them, particularly electronics, when they travel.