Charlotte police introduce new task force to combat gun violence

Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 11:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Only three months in and 2021 is shaping up to be another violent year in Charlotte.

More than 100 people have been shot just this year alone.

To help combat the surge, police have formed a specialized team to investigate gun-related crimes.

Charlotte resident Dametria Hamilton counts up the holes in her home where somebody opened up and sprayed the building with gunfire earlier this year.

Across town, friends and family are still mourning the unsolved murder of Wilma Gene, who was shot and killed last July as she waited in her car for her granddaughter after a child’s birthday party.

So far this year, there have been more than 400 gun-related assaults, more than 100 people shot and nearly 200 cars and homes have been riddled with gunfire. Charlotte police say they have had enough.

“It’s got to stop,” said CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano.

In order to combat this unsettling trend, a new task force has been created to deal with the problem.

Police call it the “Crime Gun Suppression Team.”

Investigators from three different units will be brought under one umbrella to tackle the growing firearms crime problem.

Paired with a nationwide database, it should prove effective in getting unlawfully used guns, and the people behind them, off the streets.

“It enhances a model that was paying dividends for CMPD but most importantly our community,” said Ryan Butler with the CMPD.

And the team is already paying off.

Last Saturday, panic-stricken shoppers ran for cover after a juvenile with a gun fired off a round of bullets near the food court at NorthLake Mall according to investigators.

Line officers, the SWAT Team, and the newly formed Crime Gun Suppression Team all headed to the scene.

With only one bullet casing found, police were able to make an arrest just twenty-four hours later.

“You can have a gun that was recovered in Nebraska that was used in a shooting in Charlotte, and it’ll tell you that,” Ryan said.

This team will be working alongside CSI investigators at crime scenes. The hope is it’ll make it easier to get the bad guys off the street.

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