CHARLOTTE — Investigators say two teenage girls were shot in Uptown Charlotte over the weekend and a “ghost gun” was recovered from the suspect.
The shooting happened on Church Street near Romare Bearden Park around 10 p.m. Saturday.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said the suspect is also a teenager and is currently in custody, and there is another person they want to speak with, but they haven’t shared how old that person is.
CMPD said the teens who were shot are a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl. Both were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Police said the suspect had a “ghost gun” – a gun without a serial number, which makes it difficult for authorities to trace – when that person was taken into custody.
CMPD said it was a gray Polymer 80 9mm handgun with no serial number. A police report also stated they found a 31-round SGM tactical magazine with four GFL 9mm Luger rounds inside, codeine, a graphic design bookbag, a grinder for mashing up drugs, and a “black iPhone in a black case with a ‘J’ and a heart on the back.”
On Monday, Channel 9′s Evan Donovan spoke to two young women who live or work near the park.
“Yeah it is, it’s a concern,” Jenna Pixey said. “I work late nights a lot of the time.”
Pixey works at a restaurant in Uptown and said she saw a lot of patrol cars near Romare Bearden Park in the aftermath of Saturday night’s shooting.
“A lot of times I know these crimes are targeted to certain individuals, and I myself might not be a target, but there are people standing by that could be accidentally caught up in whatever’s going on,” she said.
Gabriella Alessio lives near where the shooting happened and walks her dog, Nala, every day in the park.
“Yeah, you know, it’s really scary,” she said. “I live by myself, I’m a college student, you know, if anything were to happen...”
There have been several incidents at Romare Bearden Park this year, including a shooting that left two people hurt back in April and multiple fights during a fireworks watch party on the Fourth of July.
With the Light the Knights Festival set to begin next week at Truist Field right across from the park, people who visit that area often say the violence needs to stop.
“And it’s sad, too, that they’re so young, that it’s young people,” Pixey said.
The problems that ‘ghost guns’ present
“Ghost guns” are untraceable weapons that have no serial number. They can be purchased online as whole guns or in parts that can be assembled from kits.
These guns lack serial numbers, and in the past were often able to bypass background checks and transfer records.
Authorities said this makes ghost guns attractive to individuals who are legally prohibited from buying firearms.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said there is an alarming trend of these ghost guns ending up at crime scenes across North Carolina. Many police departments don’t even know what ghost guns look like.
“There’s ghost guns in every neighborhood that we see, and it’s our job that our law enforcement partners are aware of what they look like and how they operate,” ATF Special Agent Anthony Spotswood said last month.
Last year, the Biden Administration announced new rules for “ghost guns.” The new federal regulations make tracing ghost guns easier, and make the punishment stiff when they end up in the wrong hands.
In October, the Supreme Court ruled that executive order – which forced gun manufacturers to serialize those types of guns and their parts, license those parts, and run background checks on purchasers – could stay in effect while an appeal of the order works its way through the court system.
(WATCH BELOW: CMPD: 1 dead, 2 injured in Belmont overnight shooting)
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