• Neighbor sees suspect leaving homicide scene, calls 911

    By: Mark Becker , Stephanie Tinoco , DaShawn Brown , Gina Esposito


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Neighbors are still on edge after the events that unfolded in their north Charlotte neighborhood.

    Police said 23-year-old Jonathan Bennett shot and killed his 24-year-old girlfriend, Brittany White, and took off with their 2-month-old child just after 1 p.m. Thursday.

    Just before 11 p.m., Bennett was killed after he ambushed police officers with gunfire outside Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department headquarters.

    Just before 11 p.m. Bennett was shot and killed in a shootout with police after he ambushed officers outside CMPD headquarters.

    Police said officer Casey Shue was shot in the leg and taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

    When police arrived at the couple's home, on Carlyle Drive, White was found shot and killed inside the home, and her baby was missing.

    ['Officer down': Dispatch audio captures chaotic moments of shootout at CMPD]

    Neighbors said the couple had only been living at the house for about a year.

    "Shaken, nervous, upset, hurt because she was a nice young lady,” said a neighbor who didn’t want to be identified. “She didn't bother nobody."

    Channel 9 spoke with the neighbor who called 911 after hearing gunshots and seeing a man rush out of the house.

    "I heard five shots and I knew it was gunshots, so I came to the door,” he said. “He came out of the house running and jumping in his white vehicle. Then, he came back, stopped behind that car right there, ran back inside the house, maybe to see if she was dead. Then, he ran back out of the house, got in the jeep and took off. About that time, the police were here."

    The neighbor believes the baby may have already been in the car when shots were fired. He said there was another child left inside the house. He said he called 911 after he heard cries for help.

    "She was in the house hollering, 'Momma, momma, momma. What did you do to my momma?' She was just hollering, and that's when I came out here and I started shaking; because I knew something happened,” the neighbor said.

    The neighbor said he saw the child shortly after police arrived.

    "They brought the little girl out, and I asked the officer if she made it,” he said. “Officer said, ‘No, she didn't make it.’ That had me shaken, nervous and so I just went out there and told them what I knew."

    "Yesterday, I couldn't even come out of my house. It's just too much,” said neighbor Tina White, who is part of the group Stop the Killing because she is concerned by the Charlotte violence. “They were my neighbors. We felt like something was going to happen because of the domestic violence."

    Neighbors said the signs of a troubled relationship were noticeable, but they never thought it would end in two parents losing their lives.

    "It kind of shook me,” the neighbor said. “Maybe if I had come out here five, maybe 10 minutes earlier, I could have done something.”

    [SLIDESHOW: Manhunt continues for suspected Charlotte shooter]

    [CMPD Chief: Homicide suspect shot dead after ambushing officers]

    With detectives on her doorstep and a team of officers lined up around her home, a grandmother confirmed to Channel 9 that her grandson, Bennett, was wanted for murder.


    The investigation set off a massive search for baby Journei Bennett. Police were in the process of putting out an Amber Alert when the child was dropped off at a north Charlotte home, safe and  unharmed.

    “His grandmother, you know, she's nice as can be,” neighbor Jimmy Rape said. “I just hate to see her have to go through this again.”

    A source said Journei will be staying with family.

    Jonathan Bennett
    (Jonathan Bennett)

    Neighbors Channel 9 spoke with were shocked.

    "I knew him for a couple years -- four, five years,” said Rahshawn Johnson. “I didn't see this coming though."

    Some neighbors told Channel 9 they couldn’t sleep Thursday night because they were so upset and scared about what had happened in their neighborhood.

    “I got a granddaughter that I’m raising, and she had to come home yesterday; get off the bus,” White said. “We had to tell her what happened.”

    Suspect's criminal history

    Channel 9 dug into Bennett's criminal past and discovered he is no stranger to police.

    State records show Bennett is a convicted felon. He served time in prison in 2013 for breaking and entering, as well as larceny.

    Records show Bennett was arrested twice in 2017. In March, he was arrested on suspicion assault on a female and misdemeanor larceny. Then, two and a half weeks later, he was arrested again on suspicion of communicating threats.

    Channel 9 discovered that Bennett was arrested on similar charges in 2016. 

    Eyewitness News also found court records showing that a restraining order had been filed against Bennett in 2016 and that he filed one against a woman in April. 

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