‘Heart of the family:’ 17-year-old killed, man injured in northwest Charlotte shooting

The shooting happened on Griers Grove Road at Fred Alexander Park on Tuesday evening.
Damien Gonzalez, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene and the man was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 7:38 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating a homicide that took place in northwest Charlotte on Tuesday evening.

According to police, a man and a teenager were shot on Griers Grove Road at Fred Alexander Park just after 7 p.m.

Damien Gonzales, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene and the second man, 18-year-old Dominic Salazar, was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

WBTV spoke to Gonzales’s family on Wednesday, they say he was caring, and glue to their entire family.

“He has a whole son, he was only 17. His mama wants answers, we want answers, he was the heart of the family,” said his aunt Jay Christenbury.

Gonzales’ son had just turned five months old. His family says he was hardworking and was picking up shifts at his job to take care of his son and girlfriend.

Police have not said what circumstances lead up to the shooting, but shared their frustrations with the violence happening in the city.

“The heart drops. It’s extremely frustrating that our young people are resorting to violence to solve any time of conflict or any type of disagreement,” CMPD Major Jackie Briley said. “And it’s frustrating for us, it’s devastating for people involved on both sides of the equation.”

Gonzales’ adoptive brother 18-year-old Dominic Salazar was also shot on Tuesday, his family says he is in the hospital in critical condition.

Tonie Boles, Gonzales’ older sister says her baby brother was always watching out for her.

“He was always there to protect me. I remember anything I was going through - I would say ‘hey I’m going through this and he would say ‘I’m coming I’m coming over.’ He had the biggest heart,” Boles said.

L’Monique King has lived and worked in Charlotte for several years, she was startled after hearing about the shooting and sent her condolences to the family and says as a mother, her heart goes out to them.

“It doesn’t really matter what they were doing - the fact is there is a family who is suffering an unimaginable loss right now,” King said.

As the family waits for justice - they’re hoping their love for Damien and his impact is seen far and wide.

“Yes we want justice and we want answers, but at the end of the day, I just hope that this changes lives. Damien was a person who changed all our lives for the better and I hope that anybody out there who needs a life changed sees this,” Boles said.

The investigation into this case is active and ongoing. As additional information develops, it will be released by the CMPD’s Public Affairs Office. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit detective. Detective Buhr is the lead detective assigned to this case. The public can also leave information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or you can submit a tip online.

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