Local

Two brothers wounded by gunfire meet Hornets' player, given seats to game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Moments after wrapping up their final home game of the season, Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist walked back on the court to meet two brothers who were shot while sleeping in their west Charlotte apartment in December.

Officer Caleb Costner, with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, was the first officer to respond to the call Dec. 21 after someone fired seven shots into the Leake Street apartment.

Darryl Ervin, 11, and Jeremiah Ervin, 9, were shot in the arm and hip, respectively.

Since the shooting, their mom said her sons have become more reserved and haven't been the same.

Costner and Kidd-Gilchrist surprised them with lower-level tickets to Sunday's game against the Indiana Pacers at the Spectrum Center.

"It's emotional, just like knowing what they’ve been through and stuff like that,” Kidd-Gilchrist told Channel 9 reporter Stephanie Tinoco. “It's very emotional. It's very touching for me."

Aside from game tickets, the Ervins were given T-shirts, food and the opportunity to meet Kidd-Gilchrist.

"I'm somewhat of a middle man,” Costner said. “I saw a need. I reached out to somebody and he made this happen."

"It's not about me,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “It's about the kids when it's said and done."

Costner has been checking in with the family since he first was called to their apartment.

[Young boys recovering after shot while asleep in west Charlotte apartment]

"One of the worst calls you can get as a law enforcement officer is any kind of harm done to a child. You hear that, your heart sinks because you don't know the outcome," Costner said.

CMPD is still investigating the shooting, and no suspects have been arrested.

Costner said he will continue to check in with the boys as police continue their investigation.

“At the time, we weren't quite sure if they were going to make it or what exactly the outcome may be, especially when you see that much blood and that much trauma," Costner said. "To see where they've come through the journey, it puts a smile on my face. I know it puts a smile on mom's face. These are some strong kids."

Costner said he had conversations with Kidd-Gilchrist in an effort to secure the tickets.

"I ended up meeting him and I reached out to him and said, ‘Hey would you ever be willing to help out with the youth in the community?’ I said, ‘I'm really big with helping the community,’ and he said, ‘Sure, let me know,’ and I was like, ‘OK, wow that normally doesn't happen.’"

Tamaker Thompson, Darryl and Jeremiah’s mother, said she is thankful for Costner’s efforts to put smiles on her sons' faces.

"As much as my kids went through, and for someone to put a smile on their face, this is wonderful to us," Thompson said.