Law enforcement working to show dangers of pop-up parties months after teen was shot

CHARLOTTE — With summer in full swing, both police and Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) officers have their hands full with spur-of-the-moment parties that seem to start from nothing.

Law enforcement refers to them as ‘pop-up parties’, where party details are shared on social media, causing more people than were originally invited to show up. For police and officers, their goal is to show residents that strangers and alcohol can be a fatal mix.

Kemp England, a Mecklenburg County ABC officer, says the reason he and other investigators are worried about pop-up parties is the quick escalation to violence that can happen when you don’t know who is in your home or what they’re bringing.

“When you have those types of parties, you make yourself vulnerable to strangers coming in who may not have the best of intentions for you,” England said.

Violence at pop-up parties has already changed the life of 15-year-old Shamoni, who was shot at a party at Mallard Creek Park in May with her mom and a friend. According to her family, they ran from the park after hearing gunshots as they were running. Shamoni was hit by a stray bullet in the neck; her family believed she might not walk again.

“I think that’s another hard thing about it: the fact she’s so outgoing and so active in life,” Jackquelyn Harve, Shamoni’s aunt, told Channel 9.

As a way to stay ahead and monitor upcoming pop-up parties, officers keep an eye out on social media because that’s how the word normally spreads. If law enforcement finds out that party guests will be underage, they try to help the hosts keep it legal.

“We love doing that first; we want to say, Hey, let’s not go down this road,” England explained, “but if we stumble upon it at the last minute, I’m just going to show up at your party, and the party is probably going to be over.”

England also had a word of warning to adults who choose to post their party information on social media: keep a tight guest list because kids tend to sneak into these parties in groups.

“If you’re not sending out a strict invite list, this is not an rsvp type of thing; it’s just ‘hey, we’re having a party. Many times, you can’t control your guest list or you haven’t controlled your guest list,” England said.

England says if strangers show up to your party, ask them to leave, and if you see posts about a pop-up party on social media, please call ABC officers.

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