Mother of 2019 homicide victim wants answers as violent crime rises this year in Charlotte

Murder victim's mom concerned about recent crime

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating 59 homicides so far this year.

That puts Charlotte ahead of pace from 2019, which was one the most violent years in decades. At this time last year, police were investigating 56 homicides.

There are still 22 unsolved cases from last year, one of those is the killing of 19-year-old Christian Estes. Detectives say someone shot him at a party where he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“It was August the 31, of last year, my son went to a party with a friend,” his mother Latoya Woodward said. “There was an altercation and someone went back and got a gun and started shooting.”

Three people were shot, including Estes. He was the only one to die.

Almost a year later, there have not been any arrests in the case.

“Very frustrating because there is still a killer out there on the loose,” Woodward said. “There has not been any accountability, any justice towards the case. Not just for Christian, but for the other girls.”

Woodward says she calls detectives each month, but they have few leads to follow.

“I don’t know if people are afraid to come forward,” she said. “They feel like, well, it wasn’t my family member, but it could be! It could be a family member, it could be a best friend’s family member. There’s no discrimination when it comes to gun violence. With Christian being an innoncent bystander at the party, anything could happen to anybody, any given time.”

Police say this pattern of people saying they did not see anything continues this year.

“When these things happen we need people to step up and we need people to come to us and help us to solve these cases,” CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said.

Woodward is worried about her son’s case, because 2020 has put even more challenges on the plates of detectives.

“It’s frustrating with everything going on,” she said. “The shootings, the protesting, the pandemic. It’s a lot of stress on everybody. It’s a time of praying for me and my family.”

Estes was a father to daughter Paisley. A few months after he died, he became a father for a second time to baby Stori Valentine.

“Valentine’s Day was very special to me and Christian because he always took me out, because he didn’t want me to be by myself,” Woodward said. “To get that phonecall, Christian has a baby here on Valentine’s Day named Stori Valentine, it was special.”

Christian will never get to meet her, but Woodward is determined that he won’t be forgotten.

“I just don’t want it to be another statistic,” she said. “I don’t want my son to just be another kid who died of gun violence.”

Anyone with any information, regardless of how small it may seem, is urged to call Crimestoppers at 704-334-1600 to leave an anonymous tip.

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