$5,000 reward offered in slaying of college baseball player

by: DaShawn Brown, Gina Esposito, Joe Bruno, Tina Terry Updated:

Loading

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Mint Hill family is mourning the loss of their son after he was shot and killed in broad daylight in west Charlotte while trying to buy a cellphone using a buying and selling app. 

Zack Finch, 21, was a student and baseball player at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky. He listed his hometown as Mint Hill. His family is from Florida, but moved to Mint Hill two years ago.

Finch and his family are from Florida, but moved to Mint Hill two years ago.


(Zack Finch)

He was a right-handed pitcher who recently finished his sophomore season in college.

[Photos of Zack Finch]

Emily Coleman, vice president of Student Services at the University of the Cumberlands, talked about the young man. 

[IMAGES: Man fatally shot on Farmer Street in west Charlotte]

"His smile was infectious and always brightened up a room," Coleman said.

Finch's brother, Nicholas Finch, said he was a good man with a bright future.

"I really cared about him," the brother said.

Finch was found shot to death Sunday in the 2300 block of Farmer Street in west Charlotte, police said.

 

Police were called to the scene at 1:27 p.m. and found Finch with an apparent gunshot wound lying dead in the front yard of the Arbor Glen Apartments. 

"We are absolutely heartbroken over the death of Zack,” said the baseball team’s head coach, Brad Shelton. “He was kindhearted, intelligent and well-spoken. His teammates and I loved him. Please pray for his family in this difficult time."
 
(What to know: College baseball player slain while trying to buy cellphone using app)


Police are investigating the case as Charlotte's 43rd homicide this year. Police are offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest. 

[PHOTOS: Homicide victims of 2017]

Finch's family spoke Tuesday at a press conference saying he didn't have an enemy in the world.

Police wouldn't give any details of what happened but warned the public Tuesday to be careful when buying and selling on apps.

"Make sure people know where you are at. Tell people where you are going," CMPD Sgt. Susan Manassah said. 

(Click PLAY to watch family members, police provide an update on the case Tuesday.)

A neighbor said there were children on the playground at the time directly across the driveway from where police found Finch's body.

[PHOTOS: Suspects in 2017 homicide cases]

“It's crazy because I'm still shaking right now,” Shante Teasley said. “I've never seen that before.”

 

Investigators said they were called to the area for a report of shots fired, but around the same time, they got another call about a man who had been shot.

Investigators spent several hours talking to witnesses and collecting evidence from the shooting. Police said Finch was shot at least once.

Vernon Jeffery, a resident at the apartment complex, described the scene as “disturbing.”

“Anybody could have gotten hurt,” Jeffery said. “Whatever the situation was, it wasn't worth murdering a person, especially on Father's Day.”

 

 

Neighbors said they saw the body on the side of the street covered in blood. 

Family members said Finch was using the Letgo app to buy a new cellphone.

They said Finch went to buy the phone on Farmer Street when someone tried to rob him. Finch ran and he was shot in the back. He died at the scene.

Lisa Crawford, with Mothers of Murdered Offspring, said the violent trend in Charlotte is troubling.

She said the community needs to communicate with each other and that’s the only way people can solve the conflict.

“It just may be a word that gives someone an outlet that can change everything,” Crawford said.

Shelton said this feels like a nightmare.

“I just kept thinking this isn't real,” Shelton said. “(Finch) was one of the most respected, well-mannered, intelligent kids in our program. I feel bad for this family."

Finch's final season on the baseball diamond was extremely successful. His team won 43 games.

Shelton said he would trade away all those wins to have Finch still be alive.

“I'd give it all away just if we could trade this for not happening,” Shelton said.

In CMPD's first-quarter statistics, it shows homicides are up 90 percent.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak to a homicide detective.