CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police are investigating after a pizza delivery driver shot three of four people who they said ambushed him and tried to rob him overnight outside an east Charlotte apartment complex.
It happened just before midnight at the Hillrock Estates Apartments on Magnolia Hill Drive.
Police said the victim was delivering pizza to the apartment complex when four suspects approached him and aimed what he thought was a rifle at his head.
The victim, who was armed with his own weapon, fired it at the robbers.
Police said the suspects ran off after the shooting and that the victim was able to call 911. Officers were able to quickly catch three of the suspects near a laundromat on Kilborne Drive.
“I heard some gunshots earlier in the night, and I looked out my window and there (were) cops everywhere,” said Danny Melenfant, who lives in the complex. “They had somebody at gunpoint.”
Resident Evelyn Ramirez heard the gunfire as well.
“I kind of peeked out the window, and I saw there was a red car out there with a sign, like a delivery truck, so I called 911,” Ramirez said.
Two of them were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds, but they are expected to be OK. The third suspect was detained, according to CMPD. He was not shot.
More than an hour later, a fourth suspect was dropped off at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest. He is also expected to be OK.
Officials said a 15-year-old was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon after he was treated at the hospital.
In addition, a 16-year-old was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was charged as a juvenile because of the Raise the Age law that went into effect in December.
Police said 18-year-old Toybyus Banks is still being treated for a gunshot wound in the hospital, but when he is released, he will be served with warrants for robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Nemiah McInnis, 20, was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon after he was released from the hospital. CMPD said McInnis has several previous charges for motor vehicle theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, larceny from motor vehicle and a “history” of resisting police.
Officers who responded to the scene found the assault-style rifle the suspects used during the robbery, but when it was inspected, they determined it was a toy rifle that was painted to look like a real firearm.
The pizza delivery driver was not hurt, authorities said. They have not said if he will face any charges.
The incident highlights the growing problem of robberies, specifically involving teenagers. In this case, they did not have a real gun, but in many others they do and activists said that is at the heart of Charlotte’s rising violent crime rate.
“Sad -- It’s a shame the kids don’t have something better to do with their time,” Malenfant said.
The Papa John’s Pizza on The Plaza was robbed Sunday night two miles away, police said.
The robbers got away with $500 and no arrests have been made.
It is not clear if the two crimes are connected.
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.
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