Teens accused of firing shots at officers is latest in spike of violence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Mecklenburg police are continuing to investigate gunshots fired in the direction of officers Wednesday night on Milton Road.

Police arrested two people, 13 and 14 years old.

Investigators said officers were responding to a call in the 2900 block of Milton Road when they heard gunfire. As they chased two teenagers, it appeared that more gunshots were fired in their direction.

“It’s frustrating,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said. “It’s a brazen act. It’s frustrating that things would escalate to that level.”

Neighbors who watched as police swarmed the area and a CMPD helicopter hovered above said they were troubled to hear that young teenagers had been arrested.

“If guns are in the hands of children, it’s dangerous,” neighbor Daisy Crowder said.

It was the latest incident involving teens and violent crime. Police arrested three teens two weeks ago after an armed robbery at a southeast Charlotte convenience store. The youngest of those arrested was 13.

March 17, 2016: CMPD: 19-year-old arrested after man shot in the neck in uptown

Mayor Jennifer Roberts has kicked off an initiative aimed at expanding after-school programs for teens. 
"It's horrific to think we have children that young that are suspects in something involving violence," Roberts said.

She said the crimes “underscore the fact that there are so many reasons to increase capacity in after-school programming.”

City councilwoman Julie Eiselt said teen violence should be getting attention in all parts of Charlotte.

“We, as a community, don’t always accept that it is our problem. It is our problem,” she said.

Eiselt and Roberts said the community needs to do a better job of leveraging private funding and volunteer time in community programs to help teens.

Will Adams, who started Team TruBlue four years ago to work with teens on a grassroots level, said funding for initiatives like his is hard to come by.

“We haven’t had one dollar of funding. It’s very frustrating.  But you know what? We have to do it,” he said.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com: