Man accused of killing Hurricane Ida evacuee in Charlotte dies by suicide in prison, officials say

CHARLOTTE — A man accused in a violent crime spree in September that left two people dead, including a Hurricane Ida evacuee in Charlotte, has died by suicide while in prison, officials announced Thursday.

Police said Malek Moore, 29, was arrested in September in Greensboro after officers got a tip from a resident. He was taken into custody without incident, police said.

Moore was found unresponsive in his cell at the Tabor Correctional Institute at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday. Paramedics tried to revive him but were unsuccessful.

Moore was wanted in connection to the murders of 29-year-old Gabryelle Allnutt in Charlotte and 21-year-old Christian Mbimba in Greensboro.

Around 5:30 a.m. on Labor Day, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police were called to the scene on East 22nd Street, between North Brevard Street and North Davidson Street, in the Optimist Park neighborhood after a woman was found unresponsive.

MEDIC said they were called to a building that was being used primarily as an art studio and found Allnutt who was not breathing. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police issued warrants on Moore for murder, first-degree burglary and kidnapping.

“Moore is a very dangerous individual,” CMPD Captain Joel McNelly said in September.

Investigators have not shared any other details about the crime, only saying that Allnutt was not shot. The police report lists other “major” injuries, however it is not specific.

Police held a September news conference where they released a timeline of events, which connects Moore to two other crimes that happened in Charlotte around the time of Allnut’s murder.

Shortly before 12 p.m. on Sept. 5, officers responded to an assault on a greenway in Villa Heights on North Davidson Street. When they got there, a woman told officers that she was punched in the face with a closed fist by an unknown person. Police believe the suspect in that case is Moore.

Later that night, police think Moore killed Allnut at an art studio in Optimist Park where she was living.

A short time after the murder, officers said they responded to a break-in at The Exchange, which is a market on 36th Street in the NoDa neighborhood. When they got there, officers said they saw damage to the building and learned that someone had entered the business and stole property.

The owner of the market, Kevin Samuels, told Channel 9 that his cash register was stolen.

“At first, you just look at it as a B&E and then you realize it is two homicides behind it and an assault,” Samuels said. “I am just glad nobody was here.”

Detectives identified Moore as a suspect in the breaking and entering and issued additional warrants for breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering.

Channel 9 also obtained a press release from the Greensboro Police Department that said Moore was wanted for first-degree murder in connection to a Sept. 3 homicide. According to police, Mbimba was found dead just after 11 a.m. on Patterson Street in Greensboro. Police said Moore has ties to Greensboro as well as Winston-Salem.

Investigators said all of Moore’s victims were strangers.

The FBI assisted CMPD and the Greensboro Police Department in the search for Moore.

Authorities said Moore had recently shaved his head and was known to be transient. They said his preferred method of travel was using the rail system.

The details of Moore’s arrest are unclear at this point, but he did travel from Charlotte back to Greensboro after Allnut’s murder. Police have not yet confirmed how he got there.

‘Gabryelle had such a positive energy’

Neighbors told Channel 9 reporter Anthony Kustura that the area where Allnut’s murder occurred is usually pretty quiet. One woman said she just saw Allnutt on the porch a few days ago and wants to know how her murder could have happened.

In her last video posted on Instagram, Allnutt showed off what she loved making most -- pottery. She worked at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts teaching young children.

According to her online posts, when Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana, Allnutt had to evacuate her home and came to Charlotte with a friend, seeking refuge.

Those who met Allnutt after she arrived in Charlotte told Channel 9 they didn’t know her well but said she had she found help working at Clayworks in east Charlotte for only a few days.

“Gabryelle had such a positive energy, she was full of light and love and you could feel it,” said Adrienne Dellinger, Executive Director at Clayworks.

Gabryelle Allnutt was found dead in a north Charlotte art studio on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021.

Channel 9 learned that the building Allnutt was found dead in was where she had been staying with two tenants and her friend while she got back on her feet, making art.

In her last Instagram post, Allnutt thanked the people of Charlotte for providing shelter, friendship and peace.

“Have a great evening everyone, and I will talk to you soon,” she said.

Police investigate after a woman was found dead in a building used primarily as an art studio in north Charlotte on September 6, 2021.

“It makes me sad more than anything scary,” said Taddes Korris, who was jogging along the light rail Monday morning. “It’s unfortunate. I hope that our community and city can find a way to mitigate things without saying, ‘Oh, it’s just a rise in crime and you know things are more violent.’ I think there’s a lot more subtlety to the issue that people are desperate, and again, without knowing more about the situation.”

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