CMPD: Man charged with 19-year-old’s murder near campus of UNC Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have charged a man with the murder of a 19-year-old near the University of North Carolina Charlotte in December.

Officers were called just after midnight Dec. 20 to off-campus housing at University Village at Charlotte on Gold Rush Boulevard following a report of an assault. When they arrived, police said they found several people in a panic leaving what appeared to be a party.

Najee Malloy told Channel 9 he was returning home from the movies when he got a text about the shooting.

“Everybody was out here just panicking,” he said.

“When officers arrived, there was a party environment -- some type of gathering,” said CMPD Maj. Cecil Brisbon. “Because people heard shots fired, there were people leaving in a panic and officers encountered them as they were leaving.”

CMPD investigates a homicide on Gold Rush Boulevard at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte (Dec. 20, 2021)

Brisbon said police found Quantae Young, 19, outside one of the apartments in the breezeway. Young had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene. Nobody else was hurt.

“There was a party,” Malloy said. “There are always parties around here. There’s a party over here every other night.”

Channel 9 crews could see dozens of officers roping off the parking lot area and collecting evidence. Many parents could also be seen arriving and checking to make sure their child was OK.

Detectives announced the arrest of Eyzaah Cornelius Ward, 21, for Young’s death. He was charged with first degree murder and arrested with help from the Gastonia Police department on Jan. 6.

“The reality is it’s tough for a family any time you lose a loved one, but what you’ve got going on right now is folks getting ready to celebrate the Christmas holidays,” Brisbon told Channel 9. “This is the time you really want people to enjoy their family members and somewhere now there’s a family that won’t have that opportunity this year.”

The apartment is not part of the Niner Choice program, which involves properties that undergo an annual security survey and review of its leasing files.

In 2019, CMPD reinforced the program to try and make off-campus housing options safer for students.

CMPD investigates a homicide on Gold Rush Boulevard at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte (Dec. 20, 2021)

Shayla Lockett isn’t a UNC Charlotte student but worries about walking her dog at night because the front gate is broken.

“I have this app on my phone, and it shows all the incidents that happen around here,” Lockett said. “And I’m glad I stay in the house and don’t go nowhere. I’m just out here and I see people that don’t live here always walking around, crack heads and crazy people looking into people’s cars.”

Since Aug. 1, there have been 15 reports of suspicious persons or vehicles at the complex.

Officials said Young had no affiliation with the university.

The investigation is active and ongoing and anyone who may have information should call 704-432-TIPS. You can also leave information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or here.

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