As Charlotte’s homicide count grows, officials with the city’s police department said detectives are making progress in arresting suspects.
In recent weeks, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has announced nine arrests in seven homicides that happened between June 29 and July 21.
The latest arrests — two adults and a 16-year-old boy — were announced Wednesday and came hours after a 27-year-old woman was shot and killed in northeast Charlotte on Tuesday during a reported robbery.
Authorities identified that victim as Katie Elizabeth Eckerd, who was found shot inside a car at a shopping center in the 2800 block of W. Sugar Creek Road.
At a Wednesday press briefing, a CMPD officer said the shooting may have been related to a robbery and drug transaction.
The killing was Charlotte’s 64th homicide this year, versus 59 at this point in 2019. (Two additional homicides this year were ruled legally justified, and CMPD, along with county prosecutors, are reviewing additional cases to determine the legality of fatal encounters.)
Charlotte’s spike in violent crime mirrors national trends. In cities from New York to Los Angeles, law enforcement officials are reporting a rise in killings.
“It’s not about the percentage; it’s about the people, and people are being greatly impacted by his scourge, by this spike we are seeing in violent crime,” Rob Tufano, a CMPD spokesman, told reporters Wednesday.
Also on Tuesday, Tykari Brown, 23, was shot and killed in the 1700 block of West Boulevard.
When police officers arrived to investigate, they found Brown inside a vehicle. “Officers and MEDIC attempted life-saving measures including CPR but were unsuccessful,” CMPD said in a statement.
Officers also found a second man at the scene who had been struck by a bullet. He was taken to a hospital with injuries described as non-life threatening. As of midday Wednesday, no one had been charged in the case.
Despite the uptick in arrests, Lt. Bruan Crum, who works in CMPD’s violent crimes division, said 17 cases remain open, including a June 21 shooting on Beatties Ford Road that claimed the lives of four people attending a block party.
Crumb said that CMPD has received “tons” of anonymous tips through the Crime Stoppers network but none from any of the people who attended the party.
“Crime Stopper tips are a little more challenging because we don’t have the eyewitness, but we certainly are working through that,” Crum said. “We haven’t gotten the tip that clears it but we’re headed in the right direction, and we’ve made a lot of positive progress.”
Crum said the department’s arrest rate for homicides — 71.7% — is about 10 percentage points higher than the national average.
Overall, he said, CMPD is pleased with the level of cooperation it gets from residents, and he said witness information was essential for the police to quickly arrest the three suspects now charged with killing Eckerd.
“Our relationships we have with the community are long lasting, and they’re continuing to bear fruit,” he said.
So far this year, Crime Stoppers has paid out more than $16,000 to individuals who have come forward with anonymous tips.
Anyone with information about an unsolved case is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a homicide detective, or leave information anonymously with Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or charlottecrimestoppers.com.