Monday, November 21, 2005 Last updated 10:28 a.m. PT

N.C. mayor calls slayings deliberate


DURHAM, N.C. -- Investigators believe four men found shot to death in an upscale rented town house were targeted and not victims of a random crime, the mayor said.

The four men were discovered Saturday when officers responded to a call reporting shots at the house. Four dead men and an injured man were found inside, and another wounded man was outside, police said.

"This appears to be another senseless tragedy, but it was not random," Durham Mayor Bill Bell told The News & Observer. The killers "knew who they were after."

Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael confirmed Monday that investigators believe the men were specific targets of the attack. Investigators were looking into drug involvement as a possible motive, Michael said.

The man found outside the town house was in serious condition at Duke University Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the face, Michael said, and the other was treated and released.

Residents said most of the homes on the street are owner-occupied, but the town house residents were believed to have rented the unit. Neighbors said the property owner, who had moved to Florida, told them she performed criminal background checks on perspective tenants before leasing the property.

Kelly Mullins, who lives two doors from the scene, said she'd met at least one of the men living in the house and that they appeared to be young professionals or college students. The victims' names were not released.