After a weekend that saw three people killed and another injured as a result of gunfire, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is asking residents to “de-escalate” disputes.
Eleven people have been killed so far this year– all by guns. That compares to six total killings at this same time last year and 11 in 2017, when homicides for the year jumped 25 percent for a total of 85 people killed.
“We just really encourage our citizens to try and de-escalate the situation and not immediately resort to violence,” Lt. Brad Koch said at a Monday press conference at CMPD headquarters. “Every single one of these 11 homicides this year has been at the result of gunfire, and that is certainly no way to solve or come to any kind of resolution, because once you fire that gun, you are responsible for whatever results happen from that.”
Koch said it’s too early to project the January homicide rate out over a full 12 months. He also said detectives either have made arrests or identified suspects in about half the homicide cases so far this year.
A deadly weekend in Charlotte
This past weekend, a 63-year-old woman was killed and a second woman was injured when someone shot into their car just north of uptown. Police the next day arrested a 20-year-old woman on suspicion of murder.
Lt. Bryan Crum, who heads CMPD’s homicide unit, said the woman killed, Harriet Witherspoon Cromartie, was not the intended target. He declined to provide details, citing the ongoing investigation.
“During that investigation, we were able to identify a bunch of witnesses at the scene, a lot of the community came forward and talked to us and provided us with important information that was critical to getting an arrest in that case quickly,” he said. “The investigation is ongoing, and we’re still running down a lot of leads in this case.”
About an hour after Cromartie was killed, a man was found fatally wounded in a parking lot on Lawyers Road. Police identified that victim as 22-year-old Christopher Jamil Moore.
The weekend’s final homicide was reported late Sunday when 36-year-old Patrick Alonzo Alston was shot and killed outside a convenience store on Mallard Creek Road. As of midday Monday, CMPD had not made an arrest in that case.
“We found a lot of witnesses who stayed around that we were able to talk to,” Crum said. “At this point, we’ve identified everyone who we believe is involved in this incident.”
How can the public help?
Crum asked that witnesses come forward with information that might help detectives in solving these killings. (Anyone with information is asked to call 704-432-TIPS to speak with a homicide detective, or call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.)
“These cases are very active,” he said. “Detectives have been here all weekend. Even today, they’re still upstairs conducting interviews that are important to these cases to resolve them.”