CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A suspicious death in west Charlotte that happened Wednesday evening is now being investigated as a homicide.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say 29-year-old Michael Anthony Barnwell was shot and killed in the 4200 block of Welling Avenue around 5:46 p.m.
Officers say Barnwell was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.
Family members said Barnwell was a young man who had children of his own.
"That was my nephew and I love him. I love him and I'm gonna miss him," said Robin Alexander, the victim's aunt.
Alexander said her son had gone to check on Barnwell and that's when his body was found.
CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney and other officers could be seen talking to the victim's loved ones during the investigation.
Before learning that the case was a homicide, family members seemed convinced that Barnwell did not take his own life.
"He loved life. Why would he do that to himself?" questioned Alexander.
While she does not think her nephew took his own life, she also wonders why someone else would kill him.
"We just need to find out what happened. We just want to know what happened because he didn't bother anybody," said Alexander.
Police ask anyone with information to call homicide detectives at 704-432-TIPS or CrimeStoppers at 704-334-1600.
Barnwell's death marks the 29th homicide in Charlotte-Mecklenburg this year.