CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating a deadly string of shootings that authorities said are tied to “simple disputes” between students at local high schools.
Over the course of a week, there have been several shootings throughout Charlotte that have left a 16-year-old and 3-year-old dead.
Detectives said the recent shootings are linked to fights between students from Hopewell, North Mecklenburg and Julius L. Chambers (formerly Vance) high schools.
“What I’m here to tell you today is that all of these cases have some relation to Hopewell High School,” McNelly said. “And there’s also, we believe, some connections to North Mecklenburg High School and Chambers, formerly Vance High School, as well. And we believe that these tragic events stemmed from some simple disputes -- what started out as teenage dispute games has turned into a deadly game that’s now taken two lives,” said CMPD Captain Joel McNelly during a news conference Wednesday.
Here is a timeline of the connected crimes:
Sunday, September 5 -- Homicide on Trinity Road
Officers responded around 6:30 p.m. to the scene at the Trinity Park Apartments on Trinity Road near Lakeview Road. When they got there, police found three people who had been shot.
Police said Jaylen Foster, 16, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two other victims were taken to the hospital for their injuries.
On Monday, CMPD said a 14-year-old suspect was charged with Foster’s murder.
Tuesday, September 7 -- Shooting on Kiev Drive
Just after midnight Tuesday, a home in the 5300 block of Kiev Drive was shot into. Police said no one was hurt.
Tuesday, September 7 -- House shot into on Joe Morrison Lane
About an hour later, another house was shot into in the 11300 block of Joe Morrison Lane. No one was injured, according to CMPD.
Tuesday, September 7 -- Two houses shot into on Kiev Drive
About 24 hours later, just before midnight, two houses in the 5300 block of Kiev Drive were shot into. Officers said no one was hurt.
Tuesday, September 7 -- 3-year-old Asiah Fiquero killed in shooting on Richard Rozelle Drive
At around 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday, officers responded to multiple 911 calls about a shooting along Richard Rozzelle Drive, off Rozzelles Ferry Road near Mountain Island Lake. When police got to the scene, they found 3-year-old Asiah Fiquero who had been shot while he was sleeping.
The child was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.
“I don’t know why this happened -- I don’t know what’s going on,” the boy’s great-grandmother, Susie Whitley told Channel 9 Thursday. “I’m gonna miss my grandson, my great-grandson, so much. He was only three. He was just taken away. He was gonna have a birthday in December. But now that’s all gone.”
According to detectives, two cars pulled up in front of the house and several shooters targeted the home, unloading more than 150 rounds.
On Friday, investigators said Qua’tonio Stephens, 21, has been charged with accessory after the fact in connection with Asiah’s murder.
Then on Saturday, police charged a second man in connection with the deadly shooting. Jacob Lanier, 21, has been charged with murder, 8 counts of attempted murder, 9 counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Thursday, September 9 -- Four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools placed on modified lockdown
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said four high schools were placed on a modified lockdown Thursday as a precaution, issuing the following statement:
“The district takes the safety and security of our schools, students and staff seriously. We are aware of threats involving Julius L. Chambers, North Mecklenburg, West Mecklenburg and Hopewell high schools. Law enforcement is actively investigating and will have an increased presence on these campuses through the end of this week. The schools are continuing with learning as scheduled, and as a precaution are on a modified lockdown.”
According to CMS, a modified lockdown “is initiated when there may be a danger outside of the buildings or off campus. Students and staff are moved (or remain) in classrooms and perimeter doors remain locked, including the front office. Classroom instruction continues as normal, and necessary movement can occur within a building.”
CMS confirmed that random safety screenings were completed on Thursday at Independence High School, West Mecklenburg High School and Hopewell High School. No guns were found, according to the district.
CMPD, as well as Huntersville police, told Channel 9 they’ve stepped up their patrols and officer presence at several high schools through the end of the week.
CMPD Captain Joel McNelly said it was unclear if the shootings in Charlotte were gang-related but that the possibility was being investigated. He also said an increased police presence was happening at all three high schools, and reiterated that detectives think all those involved are high school students.
Anyone with information about the shootings should call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit detective. You can also leave information anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.
(Watch Below: CMS superintendent on recent violence involving students: ‘It has to stop’)
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