Man found shot to death in crashed car identified

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Cornell Lamarche Bridges is Charlotte's 41st homicide.

Police say he was found fatally shot inside a crashed car in northwest Charlotte Monday evening. He was 32-year-old.

Officers were called to the 4500 block of Hovis Road around 7:08 p.m. for reports of shots being fired. Soon after, they got a call about a crash in the 300-block of North Hoskins Road nearby.

Tuesday afternoon, investigators said it doesn't appear that the shooting started on Hovis Road, which is off South Hoskins Road.

""At this time it's North Hoskins and South Hoskins so we're not sure if the communication got mixed up between communications and the 911 caller," Lt Andy Royston said. "We couldn't find any evidence to my knowledge that it occurred on South Hoskins."

Police said they believe the victim was shot at the location where the vehicle crashed, and the shooting is not random.

"Just on the amount of rounds that were fired and the area – the area is kind of residential... between residential and commercial area... and it's not like a popular hang out such as a park or a convenience store," Lt Royston said. "So it's not like somebody was driving down the road and got shot."

Neighbors said there were children in the area when shots were fired.

"It's heart-wrenching. Kids shouldn't have to grow up and see stuff like this," said neighbor Jerome Patterson.

Some of the nearby neighbors said they heard the gunshots.

"Well we was just all sitting out enjoying and all of a sudden just heard a bunch of gunfire and we all ducked down and everything and then all of a sudden you heard tires screeching," said Patterson.

A white car had crashed into a power pole. Bridges, who was sitting in the driver's seat, was dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

"It's heartbreaking to me to see the families," Lt. Royston said. "It really is. The pain that they go through. Seeing his family there, his mother... that's heart wrenching to know the mother's – her son is laying there dead."

Many people gathered along North Hoskins Road Monday evening trying to find out what happened to their friend and family member. Several of the people were very emotional.

"God bless us all because at this point in time we all need God in our lives and with stuff like this going on, it really needs to stop," said Patterson.

Sources tell WBTV that investigators are trying to determine if the shooting was drug related. No arrests have been made.

"Like we're going through a cycle again. I don't know if the universe cycles and we're going through this downward spiral again," said Judy Williams of Mothers of Murdered Offspring. "I'm thinking we gotta find some new answers to deal with the new issues that are happening because it's like the 90's all over again and we just don't want to go back there. That was not good."

Williams said this year reminds her of 1993 when the organization first started, and when homicides were at an all time high.

"It was 120 plus and it was awful," Williams said. "We were having homicides constantly and it was just terrible."

So far this year, police say there have been 41 killings.

Investigators say in majority of the cases, the accused murders killed intimate partners, relatives, friends, or associates.

"A number is not even the beginning of what this is about," she said. "This is about people's lives. This is about people's families. This is about hurt, pain, life changing experience. That's what this is about."

Williams said from her vantage point, one of the issues behind the homicides is decision making.

"This is about making better decisions. People are not making good decisions. They're thinking in the moment when we need them to think beyond the moment because if they don't then it changes their life too" Williams said.

She added, "I don't think the people who are doing these crimes realize your life is gonna change and if we can get them to realize that, to just stop and think before you act. Stop and think. Please think about your own future, think about your children, think about your family. Don't just think about what you getting ready to do."

The investigation into the murder of Bridges is ongoing and police ask anyone with information to call homicide detectives at 704-432-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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