Suspect in park ranger shooting threatened to ‘kill children in the next 24 hours’ at daycare

CHARLOTTE — A person is in custody after a rock with hate speech and threats was thrown through a glass door at a northwest Charlotte daycare, police said.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, officers along with the FBI took a person into custody and are not searching for anyone else at this time. Tuesday morning, the suspect was identified as 36-year-old Tyson Lee Corpening, according to CMPD.

Corpening is being held in the Mecklenburg County Detention Center on numerous charges, including attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of a firearm by felon, injury to real property, threat of mass violence on educational property, and two counts of ethnic intimidation.

Earlier in the day on Monday, police said the case is believed to be connected to the shooting of a park ranger that happened last month.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Monday’s incident was reported around 8:40 a.m. at the Marizetta Kerry Child Development Center, which is on Beatties Ford Road near Cindy Lane. Police said the rock had hate speech and various threats toward children.

In a news conference, investigators confirmed they have evidence linking the daycare case to the shooting of the Mecklenburg County park ranger.

Police told Channel 9 that shooting happened Nov. 27 near the entrance of the Charlotte Friendship Sportsplex, a county park in north Charlotte.

On Wednesday, Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz was in court and learned that the rock had the words “will kill children in the next 24 hours” on it when it was thrown into the daycare over the weekend. A note that was left at the scene of the park ranger shooting said, “Kill [n-word].”

Prosecutors said Wednesday that investigators found a notebook inside Corpening’s apartment, and the handwriting matched what was written on the rock and on the note. Prosecutors also said that a .380 caliber gun was found inside Corpening’s house -- a .380 caliber casing was found at the scene of the park ranger shooting.

The park is located within walking distance of the daycare. The proximity and evidence found today allowed them to connect the cases, officers said.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that data from Corpening’s cell phone put him at the daycare on Saturday at the time when the rock was thrown through a glass door, according to surveillance video.

The ranger was shot in one of his extremities while locking up for the night, Maj. Brian Foley told Channel 9 last month. He’s expected to recover from his injuries, Foley said.

The motive behind that shooting was not released.

Corpening is being held on $10 million in bonds.

Earlier coverage:

“The main point I want to bring around today is that it’s critical we get the public’s help on these two incidents close proximity,” Maj. Melanie Peacock said in a news conference on Monday afternoon. “It’s very likely someone in the community might know who’s responsible for this and we need those people to step forward and call us and let us know what they find.”

The daycare reopened Tuesday morning.

A reverend at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church said the church owns the daycare and the land at Friendship Sportsplex, but there is no indication that it is the connection between the two cases.

Anyone with information on who may have committed either act to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Tips can be made anonymously.

‘It’s past crazy’

Daquan Jeter says he left work early -- rushing to pick up his son from daycare on Monday -- after receiving an alert on his phone.

“I seen a link with WSOC-TV on it ... then I opened it, and it said something about a guy throwing something into Marizetta Kerry,” he said.

That’s the daycare where Jeter’s 2-year-old son Daylen goes.

Thrown into the building was a rock with hate speech and threats.

“That’s what really got my mind spinning,” Jeter said. “A kid can’t do nothing to nobody, so for somebody to do that to where it’s mostly full of kids and elderly people, and people who can’t defend themselves, to me, it’s past crazy.”

CMPD said the case is believed to be connected to a shooting last month where a park ranger was hurt at Charlotte Friendship Park less than a mile away.

“The first incident that happened we thought was probably an isolated incident, because this kind of incident is not common,” Peacock said. “Obviously, with what happened this morning, that accelerates things.”

Police said they’re processing evidence from the daycare and scouring the area for surveillance video.

Channel 9 noticed security cameras around the daycare. Some construction workers working across the street said they began their day around 8 a.m., but didn’t notice anything suspicious.

Jeter says he isn’t sure whether he’ll send young Daylen back to the school until a suspect is in custody.

“I probably ain’t, he probably is not gonna come back here,” he said.

(WATCH BELOW: CMPD officer accused of hitting, killing CPCC student to start trial Monday)

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.