Neighbors worried shooting a sign of crime's return to Belmont neighborhood

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:


Police are still searching for a gunman who shot a man over $20.

Police believe the robbery and shooting were random, and it has left residents who live in the Belmont neighborhood scared.

Neighbors said Matthew Hawkins is still recovering from Tuesday’s emergency surgery at Carolinas Medical Center.

At one of Hawkins’ homes, where he and his wife have lived for three years, he was shot in the head while working on renovations. Hawkins owns several homes in the area.

“It's a shame it happened to a good guy and a good family over there, so we're trying to step up and do whatever we can,” said neighbor Colin Feehan.

Hawkins’ neighbors in south Charlotte are doing what they can to help the couple -- taking out the trash and collecting the mail -- while family members take care of the couple’s children.

“Obviously, we hope that they grab who’s behind it,” Feehan said.

Police call the shooting a senseless crime. Police added the robbery appears to be random.

The Belmont neighborhood used to be known as one of Charlotte’s toughest areas, but a 10-year, $10 million investment cleaned up the neighborhood.

“It’s not a violent neighborhood, really. You don’t hear stuff like that every day,” said Ishenika Bailey, who lives in the neighborhood.

Now there are concerns crime is creeping back in. With the shooter still on the loose, people who live and work nearby are scared.

“It's really an unnerving situation,” said Darrell Varney, who works in the area. “Well just since then, I feel like I’ve had to look over my shoulder at least 100 times.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s crime unit is handling the investigation. So far, police do not have a description of the robber.