Third person charged in connection with shooting death of Charlotte grandma

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police announced Tuesday they have arrested a third suspect in connection with the shooting death of a 63-year-old woman earlier this year in north Charlotte.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said 17-year-old Lavarchio Brenyon Allen Jr. is charged with murder and discharging a weapon into occupied property in connection with the killing of Harriet Witherspoon Cromartie.

(Lavarchio Brenyon Allen Jr.)

Officers already arrested 20-year-old Nazah James on Jan. 26. Authorities said another suspect, 21-year-old Omontie Rowe, was taken into custody in York County, Pennsylvania days after that.

Rowe is facing murder charges, in addition to three counts of attempted murder.

(Omontie Rowe)

(Nazah James)

James has been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and discharging a firearm into occupied property.

Rowe was previously arrested when he was 18 years old for shooting at a house on Golden Ridge Lane.

"I looked out the window and I practically fainted because there were police cars everywhere and it was like, oh my God,” said Ruth Hines, who lives nearby.

Rowe has numerous shooting into occupied dwelling charges on his record.

This time, he is charged with murder.

Police said Cromartie was pronounced dead and another woman was taken to a hospital with serious injuries after they were found shot inside a vehicle around 8 p.m. outside an apartment complex on Wynbrook Way.

(Harriet Cromartie)

Cromartie's daughter-in-law, Shimona Jones, said the deadly shooting may have been in response to an earlier altercation between a group of girls who were fighting.

"It was consistent rounds, two or three guns,” Jones said. "They came to kill. They didn't come to just shoot in the air."

Jones said she was coming home to her apartment when she spotted three unknown cars in the parking lot.

She said she was driving away when bullets started flying.

Stray bullets struck neighbors’ cars, shattered glass on houses and went through bedroom windows. Witnesses said there were more than 100 bullet casings left behind.

Jones said in the midst of the shooting, she jumped a curb and hit a parked car before coming to a stop.

"I'm swerving, trying to dodge the bullets,” Jones said. “I got out the car, and I could hear one of my cousins shouting, ‘I've been shot, I've been shot. Help. Help.’”

Jones said there were five people in the car at the time of the shooting, but only Cromartie was fatally shot.

“Well-loved. She's going to be truly missed. She was my partner. You see her, you see me,” Jones said.

Another woman, who Channel 9 was told is Cromartie’s niece, was shot in the foot and is expected to be OK.