‘Do something positive’: Anti-violence group gathers after spike in violence across city

CHARLOTTE — Over the last two weeks, officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have investigated at least 10 deadly shootings.

On Saturday, local groups gathered on Beatties Ford Road in north Charlotte to address the community’s recent violence.

Many were shocked after another teen’s life was cut short on Friday when he was shot and killed while he was waiting to be picked up after his shift at Jack in the Box.

Incidents like those are the type that groups like Alternative to Violence (ATV) have been fighting to prevent for the past three years.

“We got our ears to the ground, to the streets, where we know what’s going on and what the needs are,” Larry Mims with ATV said.

The group hosted an Easter weekend cookout at the Ritz in Washington Heights on Saturday; one ATV member says the event was meant as a message of love and peace.

Although Friday’s shooting didn’t happen in their area, it was a topic of conversation for many.

“It makes you feel sick because some kids are out here doing the right thing,” ATV member Juan Hall said, “and it hurts because you have one or two who just don’t get it.”

Throughout their three years in the Beatties Ford Corridor, the goal of ATV has been simple: squash the disputes before they can become violent. To do this, the group employs violence interrupters, like Dimtros Jordan, to help guide people back to the right track.

“I was in the streets,” Jordan said. “It’s because I’ve been through it, you know, and people who follow me when I switch up and do something positive, they will follow me.”

To have their message heard throughout the community, ATV visits local schools. Hall is the group’s outreach coordinator and believes visiting young people at their schools is just as important as being active in their neighborhoods.

“We go inside the school house, and we find the troubled kids that we need to work with because it’s only like one or two; if you get those one or two, they control the rest,” Hall said.

Mims is proud of the difference the group has made in this part of the city but believes if ATV were to expand, it would make a real difference.

“I think you will see it start to come down, because one thing violence doesn’t like is a lot of people being around it,” he said.

(WATCH BELOW: Anti-violence panel discusses possible solutions to teen violence, crime)