Second man charged after murder of 3-year-old Charlotte child

He also faces a series of felony charges.
Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Police have charged now charged two men in connection to the fatal shooting of a 3-year-old boy when more than 150 rounds were fired at the sleeping toddler’s Charlotte home on Sept. 8.

Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Homicide Unit and the Crime Gun Suppression Team charged Jacob Lanier, 21, with eight counts of attempted murder, nine counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling and conspiracy to commit murder.

He was arrested Sept. 10.

Police arrested Qua’tonio Stephens, also 21, Sept. 8. He was charged with accessory after the fact to murder in relation to the shooting.

Police conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Stephens Sept. 8. They say the vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit ensued. He was arrested without incident on I-85 near Glenwood Drive.

He faces a series of felony charges, including flee to elude, discharge weapon occupied property (three counts), and assault with a deadly weapon intent to kill (seven counts) in relation to an incident that occurred Sept. 7 off Joe Morrison Lane.

Qua’tonio Stephens
Qua’tonio Stephens(Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department)

Susie Whitley, the child’s great-grandmother, said 3-year-old Asiah Figueroa was the victim in Tuesday night’s deadly shooting off Richard Rozzelle Drive.

Asiah’s 4-year-old sister was grazed in the shooting and expected to survive.

People from the Rozelle’s Landing community and other neighborhoods held a candle light vigil Saturday night to support the family.

“There’s a ton of families that need to know their community supports them,” said Kimberly Brooksbank who organized the vigil.

[’It was heartbreaking’: Community mourns death of 3-year-old killed in Charlotte drive-by shooting]

“How can you wake up this morning knowing that your actions last night took the life of a 3-year-old, who will never get the opportunity to grow up and play, as you have?” CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said, speaking directly to the suspects the day after the shooting.

”I think the community came together in helping these cops find the people who did it,” Brooksbank said.

“No doubt I’m sure knowing that someone’s been arrested, they’re relieved. We’re talking about an innocent child,” said Donnell Gardner who is an outreach worker for Alternatives to Violence (ATV) and the president of Team Tru Blue.

[’It’s almost surreal:’ neighbors shaken by shooting that killed 3-year-old in Northwest Charlotte]

Detectives believe this is one incident out of a series of shootings related to two homicides, and that they have some relation to students at Hopewell, North Mecklenburg and Chambers high schools.

Melissa Howard-Jones taught Lanier when he was in middle school.

Both she and the police are pleading for parents to get active in their kids’ lives and what’s happening at school.

“Don’t feel like you are harboring your kids or you’re doing too much, it’s never, never too much when you’re a parent,” Howard-Jones said.

[CMPD say shooting that killed 3-year-old tied to others involving students]

Officers say what started as a normal teen fight in school has led to two deaths.

According to officers, multiple vehicles targeted the home.

Gardner says this incident has sparked a movement amongst several community organizations.

“The grassroots organizations are coming together. We’re going to move throughout the city and let the community know that enough is enough. Enough has been enough,” Gardner said.

Anyone with information can reach out to Crimestoppers at 704-334-1600 or 704-432-TIPS and leave information anonymously. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to arrests in this case.

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