Charlotte neighbors call for end to killings after violent start to 2023

An officer-involved shooting also occurred on Billings Park Drive, though that shooting did not result in death.
So far in 2023, there have been seven homicides, one of which happened this weekend on William Reynolds drive where a 15-year-old died.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:49 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte is calling for an end to the violence.

WBTV is tracking the number of homicides around Charlotte. So far in 2023, there have been seven homicides, one of which happened this weekend on William Reynolds drive where a 15-year-old died.

An officer-involved shooting also occurred on Billings Park Drive, though that shooting did not result in death.

WBTV spoke to a neighbor who said she’s constantly talking to her own son about the concerning trend of violence in our city. Katonja Brown said she saw the 15-year-old victim about an hour before he died.

Related: Overnight south Charlotte apartment shooting caps off violent weekend

“They were walking to the store, the three of them,” Brown said.

Brown tells WBTV she doesn’t know the boy personally who died, but it’s a loss and sadness that is felt up and down the street.

“I seen, I guess his grandmother or something, come out and just the pain she was feeling I started crying and It’s sad I don’t know what we can do,” Brown said.

Brown said for now, her focus is on having hard conversations with her 17-year-old son. Helping him understand violence can be found anywhere.

“Even though he just turned 17 he’s still not allowed to hang out with just anybody, not if I have anything to do with it,” Brown said.

From the dining room table to the state Capitol, it’s a never-ending fight

“We’re the only organization solely focused on ending gun violence throughout the state,” Becky Ceartas with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence said.

According to the organization, guns are the leading cause of death for children.

“It is also tragic because there are policies and programs that can be put in place that are proven to save lives,” Ceartas

One of those programs she goes on to mention is found right here in Charlotte.

The Office of Violence Prevention offers a strategic plan to combat violence and offers resources to the community through awareness campaigns and community outreach

“It’s a trend we don’t want to see and we have to come together as a community with all our resources,” Melanee Friday with the organization of Mothers of Murdered Offspring said.

Mothers of Murdered Offspring is a local group offering support in the aftermath. They understand all too well, it will take a long time to fix the violence epidemic and until then they will be there to help pick up the pieces.

“There are fundamental things we can do as a community like pooling resources so we can end the violence and people don’t need our services on the backend,” Friday said.

Mothers of Murdered Offspring are hosting their first-ever men’s meeting. Men and women grieve and process loss differently. If you’re a man who needs support you can visit the virtual meeting where you can find support among peers and speak with professional counselors.