Man killed in west Charlotte described as student athlete with 'infectious' smile

Man killed in west Charlotte described as student athlete with 'infectious' smile
Finch (Source: University of the Cumberlands |
Finch (Source: University of the Cumberlands |
Finch (Photo provided by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department)
Finch (Photo provided by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man shot and killed in a west Charlotte apartment complex Sunday afternoon has been identified by police as 21-year-old Zachary Finch.

"He was a good brother, good son, good friend, good Christian. He was an athlete, a scholar-athlete," said his brother Nicholas Finch. "You really had to have met him to know what a good person he was and it's an absolute tragedy that it happened to someone like this."

According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, the incident happened in the 2300 block of Farmer Street around 1:27 p.m. Officers arrived to find Finch in the front yard of an apartment with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on scene.

Finch was a senior at the University of the Cumberlands (UC) in Williamsburg, Ky., and a member of the Patriots baseball team, the university says.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Zach Finch," said UC President Larry Cockrum. "Zach was an incredible young man with a very bright future. We ask the entire Cumberlands family to join in praying for Zach's family and friends during this terribly difficult time."
"Zach was an amazing young man who always had a smile on his face," said Emily Coleman, Vice President for Student Services. "His smile was infectious and always brightened up a room. Zach went out of his way to say hello to others; he was a joy to be around. He will be deeply missed by our campus community."
"We are absolutely heartbroken over the death of Zach," said Brad Shelton, Head Coach for UC Baseball. "Zach was a member of our program for three years. He was kindhearted, intelligent and well spoken. His teammates and I loved him. Please pray for his family in this difficult time."

CMPD said they are investigating Finch's death as a homicide. So far, Charlotte has had 43 homicides in 2017.

It is unclear whether Finch and the shooter knew each other.

"The kid didn't have an enemy in the world. He was a team player. He always motivated everyone that was around him" his brother Nicholas said.

WBTV has learned that Finch was in the area to buy an upgraded iPhone. He used an App where he thought he was meeting a legitimate seller. 
But something went wrong. Police believe there was a robbery and Finch was shot.

Police said Finch wasn't doing anything illegal.

They wouldn't elaborate on the motive or circumstances of the death but they have a warning for people.

"If you're on Craig's List or if you're on App  - whatever it is you're doing - make sure people know where you're at, and tell people where you're going, what it is that you're doing," Sgt Susan Manassah said. "If it's too good to be true, then it's not real."

Investigators say Finch's death should be a cautionary tale for everyone.

"Our kids, our generation – what we do, how we do things  - is all on social media apps," Sgt Manassah said. "Hey meet me – whether it's a dating website, whether it's a vine website –you're meeting someone that you don't know for the first time."

Sgt Manassah added, "where should that encounter happen? It should be in a place where you both feel comfortable. And if the one person doesn't want to meet you there then end it."

Police are asking the public for information to help solve the case.

"It happened at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday. There's windows, there's parks, there's kids playing. People were outside and so we know that somebody has some information. We want them to come forward" Sgt Manassah said.

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 704-334-1600.

Cumberlands is offering counseling for students, faculty, and staff. Information regarding the services can be obtained through Jodi Carroll, MSW, LCSW, Director of Behavioral Health, at 606-539-3553.

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