CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested a man and charged him in connection with the city's 64th homicide of the year.
Officers were called around 3 a.m. Tuesday to the 1400 block of Rosetta Street, just north of uptown, where they found Derrick Banner, 26, inside a car, suffering from a gunshot wound.
Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.
Around 11 p.m., officers arrested 18-year-old Montavious Berry and charged him with Banner's murder.
He was also charged with armed robbery and shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Banner’s friend, who asked not to be identified, said they were both undergoing hormone treatment to transition to women, and hopes their sexuality wasn't the reason for Banner's death.
"He needs to rot in jail for life for taking my friend’s life like that,” the friend said.
Banner and her friend grew up in Lenoir, and would travel to Charlotte on occasions to meet men.
The friend said Banner met someone online, and the friends traveled to Charlotte to meet him.
The suspect didn't know that the friend was hiding behind the rear seats in the trunk and not only heard the gunfire, but tried to revive Banner.
"Derrick was told to come alone, but he didn't want to go because of the weather,” the friend said. “So I went with him and the guy said he wanted him alone and said I would have to hide and so I hid in the trunk of the vehicle."
Prior to the shooting, the friend said the shooter had gotten into the car and drove with Banner around Charlotte.
At one point, the man pulled out a gun and the friend knew Banner was in trouble.
"He was like, ‘Don't point it at me like that. Don't point it at me like that,’ and then not a second afterward I heard two gunshots," the friend said.
Banner’s grandmother, who raised Banner in Lenoir, said Banner struggled growing up.
"I've been crying ever since it happened,” Jo Banner said. “And I can't get over with it. I loved Derrick. He was in his own ways, but I loved him."
Police said there is no information or evidence gathered at this point to indicate that Banner's sexuality was the reason for the murder.
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