Old Duke St. hotel gives up the condo for good; set for Sheraton future?
N&O offers Sturdivant recollections; H-S on holiday autopilot?

WRAL: Ronnie Sturdivant killed in Sat. afternoon shooting at Urban Merchant Center

Shocking news from WRAL late in the evening on Saturday: Ronnie Sturdivant, owner of the Corcoran St. parking garage/former Jack Tar Motel and the W. Chapel Hill St. hotel that's become the Urban Merchant Center, was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon.

Barry Wayne Kaalund is charged with murder in the death of Ronnie Sturdivant, owner of Urban Merchants, located at 605 West Chapel Hill St.

Officers responding to a gunshot call at the store just before 4:30 a.m. p.m. Saturday found Sturdivant shot several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel.

Sturdivant was in the news just two weeks ago following the latest move by City officials to attempt to force the property owner to clean up the W. Chapel Hill St. facility.

My thoughts, and I hope those of all BCR readers, are with Sturdivant's wife and family at this very difficult time.

Update: I've updated the post to correct that this happened around 4:30 pm, not am. Thanks to a reader for catching that.

Kaalund, from what little research I've been able to do, Mr. Kaalund appears to be a long-standing member of the Durham community; formerly a homeowner off Kent St.; a UNC grad; quoted in local news articles at the opening of a cultural center in the Triangle a few years back. And the comments of Pat Murray (the publisher of the terrific Durham Skywriter newspaper) suggest there is much more to learn about this story.

Kaalund is being held without bond in the Durham County jail.

Update: Two videos featuring Sturdivant and his Campaign for Wealth marketing program; the first shows the property owner apparently standing on the roof of the Urban Merchant Center. The second is a founder's message from Sturdivant on the program:


patricia A murray

Last Thursday I was on my way to the Blue Coffee Cafe (in the building Sturdivant owned), when I spotted two cool-looking guys (one in a nifty hat) walking down the street. I stopped them and asked if I could snap their photo. Both men smiled and posed; the guy not wearing a hat even playfully did a "rabbit ears" behind his friend's head. The guy in the hat was Barry Kaalund, who a week later turns out to be Sturdivant's accused shooter. Too, too weird.


This is truly stunning news. You just don't expect to recognize the name of a victim of a crime like this as one of Durham's news makers. I hate it for Mr Sturdiavant's family and cannot imagine what they are going through.

Due to the prominence of the proprties he owned, this could have a significant impact on the future of downtown Durham.


Slight correction: I believe he was shot and killed around 4:30pm, not 4:30am.

P.S. Is Urban Merchants the gas station on W. Chapel Hill?

Kevin Davis

cw: Thanks for the correction, I've fixed that. The Urban Merchants Center is the old Holiday Inn next to the gas station. Gary's Endangered Durham blog has good info on the property.

patricia A murray

I forgot to mention that you can view the photo I alluded to at flickr.com. You can either type "Durham Skywriter" in the search field or the entire URL: flickr.com/photos/72358978@N00. The photo is the latest (and last) in the "downtown Durham NC" set.

pat murray

jane doe

this news is really shocking. i know barry very well and he is just as described by the photographer--extremely playful and happy-go-lucky. it's hard to imagine him committing such a horrible crime. i think they may have been business partners in some way. i hope the coming days will reveal some things that will help to make better sense of this mess. my prayers go out to mr. sturdivant's family and also to barry's family as they struggle to make sense of it all.

as a side not to the blog poster, barry is no longer married to the former UNC professor Valerie Kaalund.

jane doe

patricia, sorry i misread your description of the 2 men in the pic. the man in the hat is indeed barry kaalund. somehow i expected him to be the one putting up rabbit ears. that's just the type of guy he is.

Warren Caldwell

I am really praying for Mr. Sturdivant and his family. He did not deserve this. This is so unbelievable. Please let's all join together and pray for the family. Diane can really use all of us right now. And I mean the entire Durham community.


to the article writer. i know his EX-WIFE very well. they are not married--and she does not have his last name anymore.

those who knew him as a good person--they did not know barry w kaalund very well.
he is a con, he is a manipulator.

thank you for correcting your article outside of these comments concerning his EX-WIFE!

she is not a part of this--she knew he was a violent man. Again she no longer has his last name nor has she seen him in several years. she moved on with her life as God directed her!

Thank Jesus she listened to God and got away from barry.

good friends of the ex-wife!


why did you put apparently? they are divorced period! not 'apparently'. and have been divorced for several years.

And they did not meet at unc as students. she did her college years in other states, not unc. he got his masters at unc long before they met.
she worked there while she was married to him.

they have not seen each other nor spoken to him in several years. she moved from durham to get away from him.

He is from ny originally. and moved here for college in raleigh at shaw i believe.

please correct your article in order to speak the truth. the way you are writing this, it sounds like they are still linked and they are not. This is part of the reason she left him. violence.

Glory B 2 God

It is disturbing to know the mis-information that bloggers and internet articles can spew. As a relative of the the ex-spouse of Barry, I must say that she left him years ago and divorced him as the Lord directed her to do, because of his violent ways. Do not link her to him anymore and do further damage to this horrific situation!

A Concerned Relative

Glory B 2 God

Actually, my comment is the last one posted under Wisdomteachesme.


I am a very close Friend of the Sturdivant's..I think it doesn't matter who is married or who is divorced at this time. The matter is we have lost a person who was a very nice motivating man in our community. Its a time to mourn and be there for the family..Not a site to sit here and argue about someone's personal marital issues!


@nb and others=
yes you are correct--there are 2 families hurt and pained by this violent act.

and we have lifted up the studivant family in prayer also.
we knew him also--

i am a durham native--and it is a tradgic lost to his family and the community. no one is taking any attention off that point.

the facts should be given in truth regardless of whose family is spoken of.

there are 2 families affected by this choice that kaalund decided to make.

God heals all pain.

Ronnies nephew.....

there are no words that can express tha pain and devistation that my family is going through right now. we just buried our grandfather which is Ronnies father no less than a cpl months ago, where uncle ronnie gave the eulogy. i speak for my entire family when i say thank u for ur concern and we hope to find out more about this situation to know the truth. we ask that u pray for us in this time of sorrow and grief. thank u....RONNIES NEPHEW

praying for Barry that God forgives him for his decisions....

a 16 year old not related to anyone

The reason for the information to be corrected is so that people know not to retaliate against Barry by killing his EX-wife. Come on even I know that. Just correct the info, or even take it out all together.

Kevin Davis

According to the N&O's reporting today (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/durham/story/1202899.html), the two are separated, not divorced:

"Valerie Ann Kaalund, his estranged wife, is listed as a faculty member at Bennett College in Greensboro. An African-American studies expert, she is also affiliated with the women's studies department at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The house on Southwood Drive was foreclosed in 2005. The residence at the address given by police for [Barry] Kaalund, on Rosewood Street near N.C. Central University, is apparently owned by Valerie Ann Kaalund's family. Neighbors there said he did not live in the area."

FWIW, I used the word "apparently" to denote that I was making the change based on a commenter's claim, not based on public records, as I wasn't able to look up divorce records online. I consider the matter unsettled, but frankly, it's a rather unimportant detail that is quite beside the point where this story is concerned. To that end, I've just removed the reference.

To the last commenter: I do not understand on what planet someone might THINK ABOUT SHOOTING SOMEONE'S ESTRANGED/EX-WIFE over something like this. Is this what our society has come to? Good freakin' Lord.

Walter Abram

I've never seen the violent side of Barry as so many people say is in him. Barry is the type of person will bend oave backwards for you........

jane doe

wow. so much has been said here since my last login on the 31st. attacking the blog poster for mentioning barry had a wife??? assuming that someone will try to retaliate against her for barry's alleged act of violence??? someone's been watching a little too much Lifetime channel. folks, let's get back to the matter at hand: two families are hurting here--the sturdivants and the kaalunds. not to mention the greater durham community. i do know barry very well. and i never professed to know barry as a "good person." i was simply stating that he had a very playful personality. does that mean he's not capable of violence? of course not. as a matter of fact, i know barry well enough to know that BOTH of his ex-wives left him because of violence and/or infidelity. but that's neither here nor there. the fact is: we now have two less black men to help strengthen durham's community. again, my heart goes out to the sturdivants and all his friends/colleagues who are affected by his untimely passing. my heart also goes out to barry's two adult sons and their families as well as his young daughter. let's just try to keep this all in perspective. no one wins when there is continued violence within the black community...


How about Ronnie Sturdivant's laugh?

Sometimes you'd talk with him and the man loved to laugh so much, you'd wonder if he was INAPROPRIATELY laughing?
Now THAT'S a problem to have!


How about Ronnie Sturdivant's laugh?

Sometimes you'd talk with him and the man loved to laugh so much, you'd wonder if he was INAPROPRIATELY laughing?
Now THAT'S a problem to have!


I worked with Barry, more recent than a year ago. He was the best! Working with him was some of the best days of my professional career. I took pictures and worked on various projects with this man. Sad to know that this would be the outcome of the remaining years of his life.


@kevin davis,
you are incorrect just as the n&o is incorrect. all this focus on barry's Ex-Wife is taking the focus off the victims family and what we need to be doing for them as well as the other people that barry has hurt by his choices.

she has nothing to do with him and has not seen him or had contact with him in over 3 years. she and her daughter got free from him and moved on with their lives. Praise God! They are abundantly fruitful by the Love of God.

we have been in touch with the writer of that article you pasted and have let her know that she is wrong. the article is full of lies and incorrect information against her. **which also takes away from the victim and his family.**
valeries lawyer has been alerted and is monitoring all lies and wrong information that is posted and printed against her and her daughter. along with this web site.

the article writer for the n&o wants proof of their divorce and that proof is not in durham county as valerie=his second EX-WIFE- had to flee durham with her daughter to stay alive.

**thank you jane doe for your positive outlook and kind words to both families. the focus should be on healing and moving on from this terrible decision that he did.

valerie does not go by his last name anymore neither does her daughter. the names have been leagally changed.

true, anyone can voice their opinion-that is our right by the constitution created by man--but to live by the Law of The Spirit is to live with integrity and for justice-walking in His love= is to live the Great Life that God has given us freely to live and stand up for. Glory Be To God In The Name Of Jesus. To Live For Truth!

Forgiveness is for all to receive if asked for from God in Jesus' name.

Lisa Sampson

am writing to express my feelings towards this entire situation. My family grew up in same town as Mr. Sturdivant family. We all knew each others family well. My father (Sherman) and Mr. sturdivant father (Jay) was friends. My older sibling went to school with his sibling. I was much younger but I grew up with his son, cousins, and nieces. This family has always been known for their kind hearts. His mother Ms. Edna was a great woman of God. I feel really sad for the family and their lost. My prayers go out to them in their time of need. This man leaves behind his family, friends and good memories. His life can't be replace, but his memory, dreams and vision can make a different. I am proud to know that someone life him came from a small town in Polkton N.C. and went on to better the life’s of other. In closing regardless of how you (the community) may feel it's in God hand to make what is wrong right. So, I feel truly sorry for Mr. Barry, because his life unless he pray for forgiveness is bound for HELL.

Ms. Lisa McLendon Sampson________________________________________

Frances White

Just keep praying for our family. My Uncle Ronnie was a good man who was senselessly taken away from us too soon.


I will be doing a tribute to Mr.Ronnie Sturdivant on my show tonight FAR ROCK LIVE. The call in number if want to share your comments is (347) 202-0207, the show airs at 7:30 PM on Friday. You can also listen via internet at www.blogtalkradio.com/Far-Rock-Live.


Barry is a great person and has a loving family. He will give the shirt off of his back almost to a fault. He is not violent. He is innocent until proven guilty. Let us pray for both families.

john doe

I have known Barry for years and met Valerie before their marriage. For years they were very happy. But like most marriages that experience financial hardships due to unemployment, they parted ways. Barry did not look back. Likewise, Valerie has her own life and is an outstanding member of Bennett’ faculty. Barry was a very loving and devoted father to his adult children. They are extremely successful. He was not a violent person at all. The facts about this case will come to light. It is a very unfortunate situation. It definitely has involuntary manslaughter written all over it.
All of the comments and character assassinations from Valerie’s family are nonsense. She is not on trail.
Barry will have his day in court and what ever happens, happens.
Right now, we should be mourning the lost of Mr. Sturdivant. He had a strong vision for Durham. My condolences go out to his family. We lost a great man.


right john doe, the truth will come out as to why this had to happen to ronnie by barry's hand.

it was more than not having a job as to why they divorced. and until you live with someone you really do not know them.
there is truth about that situation that you do not know- just as there is truth to your life people do not know.

and you don't know who is speaking up for valerie-she has very good friends also--just as we do not know who you really are.

if you want to speak good about barry then do that-but don't attack anyone that has truth that you do not know.

be well.

Jamie Gruener

It's been nearly two years, and there's been not a peep about this story. Any updates on the crime or on Mr. Sturdivant's plans or property?



Strate Talk

Barry's out and walk among us now. Those who refuse to believe he is violent just might get another chance at that. Ronnie is still dead but if you want to invite his killer back in your life it's all up to you!!!!

Dorothy Walton Beamon

I am a neice of Dianne Sturdivant, I am asking that our family and friends join together in unity to pray and ask God to intervene and give us the justice that Aunt Dianne, Krystal, Jonathan, and Juan deseves it is also my prayer that they find CLOSURE. I know all things are poosible through Christ who strenghens us.

Dorothy Walton Beamon (neice)

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