CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An investigation is underway into Charlotte's 29th homicide after a woman's body was found in a park near a high school in Charlotte.
According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, officers were called to the 2400 block of Kendall Drive for a welfare check and found the body of a woman, later identified as 46-year-old Shannon Littlejohn, lying in the West Charlotte Neighborhood Park, which is next to West Charlotte High School.
Friends said Littlejohn graduated from West Charlotte High School and grew up in the area where she was killed.
"It was nothing I wouldn't do to help her, support her or be there for her, so it's a great loss to me," Littlejohn's friend, Tonya Hill-Stephenson, said.
Hill-Stephenson said she grew up with Littlejohn, and that she was like a sister to her. Neighbors said Littlejohn was homeless and had run-ins with the law, but always had help.
"I knew she needed food," Hill-Stephenson said. "I knew she needed a bath. I knew she needed personal products. If I had it, it was hers."
Littlejohn's cause of death has not been released.
"It's a hurt," the victim's friend said, "because I am like, who? Why?"
Neighbors said they heard sounds coming from the park Sunday night. Littlejohn's body was found Monday morning.
"They did hear some popping off last night around 11 or 12:30 on Senior Drive," another neighbor, who did not want their name released, said. "No one did call. They thought it was firecrackers."
Police have not said if there are any suspects.
"She used to hang out with someone around here," a neighbor said. "Some man who'd be sitting around out here on a bench."
Stephonson-Hill said she last saw Littlejohn Sunday at the United House of Prayer For All People on Beatties Ford Road, enjoying the service and hearing the band play.
"We had youth service every Sunday at 5 o'clock," she said. "She was in service yesterday and the young boys were playing their horns and she loved waving her scarves at church."
Friends said Littlejohn had a good heart. They want the person responsible caught.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit detective, or call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.