CHARLOTTE — Authorities are searching for a car that they say is connected with the shooting of a 4-year-old boy in southeast Charlotte on Aug. 29.
The boy and his mother were returning from the grocery store when a drive-by shooting happened at Wallace Woods Apartments on Wallace Road off East Independence Boulevard, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.
Carter, the child shot, was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries and had to undergo surgery, police said. On Wednesday, Carter’s mother said the surgeries went well and doctors are monitoring the boy’s condition.
CMPD released photos of a car Wednesday that officers said the suspect drove into the Wallace Woods Apartments at about 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 29 when they started shooting.
The suspect’s vehicle fled the scene, making a left-hand turn onto Wallace Road toward Monroe Road, CMPD said.
The car has a sunroof and doesn’t have a tag. There is damage to the driver-side fender and right-passenger door, CMPD said.
911 calls released
On Tuesday, Sept. 6, CMPD released portions of the 911 calls made by witnesses at the scene.
The first caller told the dispatcher, “Oh my God, hurry up, my baby got shot, please hurry up, please hurry up.” The caller pleads with dispatch while other witnesses in the background can be heard wailing and calling for help.
In another call, a witness asks for first responders and says that there were kids outside and they just heard gunshots. The caller added that police were at the location earlier but needed to return.
You can listen to those calls at this link.
Connection to CMS school
In the wake of the shooting, Channel 9 asked the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Police Chief about reports that the shooting may have started with a fight at East Mecklenburg High School.
“We had some rumblings that [the shooting] may have started with a fight at East Meck; have you all been contacted by CMPD about that? Any knowledge of that?” Channel 9′s Jonathan Lowe asked CMS Police Chief Lisa Mangum.
“I can’t reveal anything about that, that’s being investigated, a continuous investigation; yes, we’ve been in constant contact with CMPD regarding the incident itself,” Mangum said in response. “We can’t talk about what happened at this point, but it’s just like the incident at Butler [High School] -- when we’re able to release something, we’ll be more than happy to reveal that information for you.”
Family members have started a fundraiser to help pay for medical expenses. Click here if you would like to help.
The fundraiser states Carter and his mom were talking to a neighbor in the apartment breezeway about getting Carter’s hair braided for his first week of pre-K when shots rang out.
“All a sudden, she heard gunshots. Bullets flying everywhere. She quickly grabbed her son to safety,” the description states. “As she grabbed her son for safety, he screamed ‘Ouch!’ As she lifted his shirt, she realized he was struck by a bullet.”
According to the fundraiser, Carter’s was forced to quit her job because “they were not accommodating her hours so she can be by Carter’s side in the hospital.”
The fundraiser states the goal is to move her and her family from the apartment complex where the shooting happened.
Reporter Joe Bruno spoke with Carter’s mom Tuesday afternoon.
She didn’t want to be identified.
“He’s fighting,” the mother said.
So far, no arrests have been made in the shooting.
“He’s a strong boy,” his mom said. “I just ask for y’all’s prayers and whoever did this to turn themselves in.”
Police said someone started shooting before 7 p.m. that Monday. CMPD believes the shots were fired from a vehicle and do not believe the mother and her son were targeted.
“The innocence of a child coming home from a grocery store with his mother and is victimized, in this way, it shocks the conscience,” CMPD Maj. Dave Robinson said. “So to whoever is listening to this news report, don’t be hardened to this fact -- to understand this has a real consequence to this violence that we experienced tonight.”
“Bullets don’t have eyes,” Carter’s mother said. “The bullet that hit my son wasn’t targeted for him and now he is laying in the hospital while whoever is walking around knows that they did it. Turn yourself in.”
The mother said Carter is very independent.
“He’s a leader. He’s funny,” his mom said. “He’s everything you can think of a four-year-old boy. He’s my backbone. He’s my support. He’s the man of the house beside my son Andrue. He’s everything. He’s the child you can never replace.”
“There is a 4-year-old child fighting for his life after being shot last night. It’s so hard for me to even fathom this senseless act of violence,” CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Neighbors told Channel 9 the child and mother did not bother anyone and that the 4-year-old is the mother’s world.
Patricia Scarborough has lived at the complex for 18 years and heard the gunshots that August night. She said she can’t imagine what the boy’s mother is going through.
“I heard pow, pow, pow, pow pow,” Scarborough said. “I feel for her. I feel sorry for her. It’s really, really sad.”
Channel 9 also saw surveillance cameras around the apartment buildings and we’re told Inlivian, which runs the complex, is now working with police to catch who’s responsible.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the family, with the mother, with the child. We are praying everything comes and has a positive outcome, but just absolutely heart wrenching what happened last night,” said Cheron Porter, senior vice president of corporate communications at Inlivian.
‘We’re scared, my kids are scared’
This isn’t the first time this year children have been the victims of gun violence at this apartment complex.
A 1-year-old girl died and a 7-year-old boy was seriously hurt in a shooting in June. At the time, CMPD said that shooting was accidental.
“I’m so used to it, the kids are used to it, we all get down and duck,” resident Shawnquilla Howard said. “(I) gotta explain to the kids why they see police outside their window.”
The morning of Aug. 30 was another day for Howard sending her children off to school, but she’s hoping when they come home this afternoon to her Wallace Woods apartment complex, they won’t be met with more gunshots.
Another mom named Tiffany said her kids had just finished the first day of school on Aug. 29 and were playing outside when she heard several gunshots. Tiffany was afraid to share her last name with a suspect not being in custody.
“At this point, we’re scared, my kids are scared, the neighbors are scared,” she said.
After Aug. 29’s drive-by shooting that seriously hurt Carter, Tiffany says she’s looking to move.
“This is not the first and I doubt it will be the last,” she said.
Since March 3, CMPD has responded 55 times to various crimes at the apartment complex on Wallace Road off Independence Boulevard. That includes the shooting death of one-year-old Q’Arysnn Maske in June that also seriously hurt a 7-year-old.
The property is owned by Inlivian, the public housing agency for Charlotte. Its website says it provides “safe and affordable housing to low-income families.”
Another woman who didn’t want to show her face told Channel 9 she’s lived here for seven years, but no longer feels safe.
“You can’t even be in your own place where you pay rent and live safely,” she said.
Meanwhile other neighbors, including Tiffany, are hoping police catch the person who shot the little boy, for his family and hers.
“Hopefully they get to the bottom of it, because these kids need answers, the family needs answers,” she said.
Inlivian said it has implemented a “see something, say something” program, where residents can call an anonymous hotline 24/7.
“We need partners in this. There are things that will go on, on the site that they will know first. They don’t have to let us know who they are but they can give us a tip,” said Porter.
(WATCH BELOW: Woman dies days after shootout with officers in south Charlotte, CMPD says)
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