CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Community members and friends held a vigil Thursday night to honor a 14-year-old boy who was shot and killed while he sat in a car in east Charlotte Monday night.
Earlier in the day, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police announced a $15,000 reward Thursday to find the person responsible for Anthony Frazier's slaying.
The crowd at the vigil released balloons in various colors and each had a specific meaning.
Most of the balloons also had lights attached and that's exactly how several people described Anthony's life.
"He was the light to this school," one person said.
White balloons were released from his teammates on the basketball team, blue balloons from Kannapolis police.
“It's just amazing to see a community come together,” church leader Anson Phillips said. “There has to be time and space for people to grieve and to mourn.”
Officers said Anthony Frazier died Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center. The boy is the son of a Kannapolis police officer. CMPD revealed he had just spent a night celebrating his birthday with family members when he was shot.
Investigators said the teen and his aunt were pulling into their home on Finchley Drive, near Eastway Drive, around 10:20 p.m. when they spotted two young men hiding in the bushes.
Sources told Channel 9 that the two men ran, before one turned around and fired several shots, hitting Frazier while he was sitting in the backseat of the car.
"The police woke me up at 11 o'clock and asked me if I had heard any gunshots and I said 'No I had not.' Supposedly there was a child shot here and of course the officer told me this morning that he was in critical condition," said neighbor Sarah Simmons.
The aunt drove to the 7-Eleven on Eastway Drive, less than a mile away, to call for help, detectives said.
At the 7-Eleven, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police roped off the gas station with crime tape. In the parking lot, Channel 9 saw a car with its rear window shattered.
Police said Frazier was from Kannapolis and was in Charlotte visiting family.
Authorities have not made any arrests and said they are looking for two black males in their teens or early 20s. One was wearing a gray hoodie and had a thin build, while the other was wearing a dark-colored hoodie and also had a thin build.
The suspects may hang out around the Shamrock Drive and Eastway Drive corridors, investigators said.
Family members pleaded Thursday for someone to come forward with information. Anthony's uncle spoke out and said Anthony was the kid who did everything he was supposed to do.
Kannapolis City Schools spokeswoman Ellen Boyd said counselors were at the teen's school, Kannapolis Middle School, to help students and staff dealing with his death.
Anthony was an eighth grader at the school.
“It has hurt our community. Teachers are grieving, students are grieving,” assistant principal Gwen Love said. “We've had a lot of students gathering in the media center and helping each other through what's going on -- remembering the good things and questioning what happened.”
The news hit especially hard in the school’s sports program, where Anthony was a fixture.
“A lot of the guys who played sports with Anthony are taking it pretty hard,” said Jerold Griggs, who coached Anthony on the basketball team for two years. He shared a message with Anthony’s teammates. “Think about the positive ways Anthony lived, and what he did, and the ways that he loved other people, and try to keep that positivity going.”
A candlelight vigil will be held for Anthony Thursday night at 6 p.m. behind the school.
“When the first news came out and I got it, put out to the department, it was more of a disbelief than anything else,” Kannapolis Police Chief Woody Chavis said. “You just don't fathom that one of your officers' children has been shot.”
Chavis released the following statement:
"The Kannapolis Police Department is heartbroken over the loss of one of our family members, especially as Anthony was just beginning his teenage years.
"Every member, of our extended family, plays an important role in our everyday lives and is critical to ensuring we are successful in carrying out our professional duties. Our families are the backbone of our department and without them we could not survive.
"We are stunned that once again a senseless tragedy has impacted the lives of our children and our officers.
"May God place his protective and loving arms around Officer Daniel Frazier’s family during this time of sorrow. A special thank you to the public for all the prayers, moral support, and acts of grace which you have shown us."
Call Crime Stoppers if you have information in this case. Callers can remain anonymous when they contact the Crime Stoppers tip-line at 704.334.1600 or visit the Crime Stoppers mobile app website.
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