More killed in Charlotte this year than this time last year, CMPD says

CHARLOTTE — More people have been killed this year in Charlotte than this time last year.

As of Monday, 39 lives have been lost so far this year to homicides in the Queen City. Two of those victims were killed Friday night just hours apart from each other. A 17-year-old was killed in one case and a 27-year old man was killed in the other.

Now, their two families join the long list of those impacted by gun violence.

“Any homicide is one too many,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Deputy Chief Zeru Chickoree said in a news conference Monday.

Chickoree said 34 of this year’s homicide victims were killed in the first three months of the year. During that same time period last year, there were 26 homicide cases.

That’s a 31% jump from last year.

‘Got to have a solution’

Jacqueline Lewis is a Charlotte native who lost her son and grandson years ago to gun violence.

“We have got to make a change,” she told Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz.

Lewis now works with the families of victims. On Monday, she was connecting the mother of Craig Tobias with Victim Assistance. Police say the 37-year old was shot and killed last week on Fontana Avenue.

Lewis said it feels like she’s constantly being called to shooting scenes.

“It gives me pain because now, I’m right back out here doing the same thing I did yesterday,” she said.

CMPD said they are doing what they can; they’re mentoring kids and teens, trying to get them on the right path. They said they can’t pinpoint one reason for the rise in killings.

“Homicide is one of the most difficult things to predict,” Chickoree said.

Lewis just hopes for more preventative action as summer approaches.

“We got to have a solution. If not, we’re going to be burying children all summer long,” she said.

Another trend Chickoree pointed out Monday was that suspects and victims getting younger and younger. Lewis is genuinely worried and she said parents need to make a choice -- either be part of the solution, or set aside money for their child’s funeral.

However, CMPD did say violent crime in Charlotte is actually down 1% compared to this time last year.

But as for overall crime in the city, it’s up 3% compared to this time last year. A big reason is because property crime is up by 4%, which is fueled by car thefts. CMPD said on average, about 21 cars are stolen or attempted to be stolen every day in this city.

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Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.

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