Two men have been charged with robbing and killing a 65-year-old man in Charlottes Collinswood neighborhood Tuesday night.
Robert Heyms death came following a recent string of robberies in the area. On Wednesday night, police announced that theyd arrested Stacey Dejon Brown, 20, and Roderick Derrick Crawford, 21, in the killing. But it wasnt immediately clear whether police believe the pair might be connected with the earlier robberies.
A neighbor described Heym as a quiet but friendly man who lived alone in a first-floor apartment in a brick building on Conway Avenue, off Scaleybark Road. She said she believes Heym was walking home from work when he was shot.
Officers were patrolling the area Tuesday night because of five robberies reported nearby since August, police said. Those officers heard gunshots shortly after 9 p.m. and rushed to the scene.
When police arrived at the intersection of Conway Avenue and Blackthorne Lane, they found Heym. Hed been shot in the face, police said.
Paramedics took him to Carolinas Medical Center. He was pronounced dead.
Police called their canine unit and helicopter to search for a suspect, and detectives combed the neighborhood, looking for possible witnesses. By Wednesday night, police had arrested Brown and Crawford. They are each charged with murder and robbery.
Records show Brown has been arrested several times in Mecklenburg County in recent years. Some of the charges he faced, including armed robbery in connection with a 2008 incident, were later dismissed. But in 2010, he was twice convicted of assailing a government official or employee. That year, a judge ordered him to attend anger management classes.
Just last month, Brown was jailed on charges of misdemeanor breaking and entering. He was released two days later.
The scene of the shooting is in a neighborhood of one-story houses near a public library and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Collinswood Language Academy, between South Boulevard and Park Road. Southgate Apartments, a sprawling complex, is located along Conway Avenue.
Former Observer reporter Bob Dennis lives near the intersection where Heym was shot. Dennis said he heard a loud noise just after 9 p.m. but didnt realize what had happened until a neighbor called and told him to look outside. He saw that a section of the street had been blocked with crime-scene tape.
Dennis said the neighborhood is generally quiet and has significant foot traffic, with people walking to the nearby Scaleybark light-rail station.
But a man who lives down the street in the Southgate Apartments said he hopes to move when his lease is up. He said hes seen drug deals outside his window.
Lt. Todd Lontz said that of the five robberies reported in the area since August, several of the victims were Latinos.
Police made an arrest in one of the robberies. In that case, Lontz said, the suspect and the victim knew each other and the incident did not appear to be related to the other robberies. The remaining four cases are still under investigation.
Lontz said investigators do not have information to suggest that the victims were targeted based on race or ethnicity, and said its unclear whether the four robberies are connected. Heym was Caucasian.
A police sticker remained Wednesday afternoon on Heyms front door, reading Do not enter.
Alita Lee, who lives across the hall, said Heym was a sweet and quiet neighbor who had few visitors. He didnt have many relatives, she said, and her family often brought him Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
He was allergic to cats, but he regularly fed two strays at his back stoop, she said.
Heym worked at a warehouse in Pineville, Lee said. He didnt have a car, so he walked to the light-rail station or the bus stop, always wearing a backpack, she said. He went to work in the mornings and usually returned around 8 p.m.
Lee said the recent robberies and Heyms slaying make her nervous about living there. But shes noticed an uptick in the number of officers around the neighborhood.
Theyve been patrolling the neighborhood hard. It makes me more comfortable.
Police ask that anyone with information call 704-432-TIPS or contact Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Staff writer Cleve R. Wootson Jr. contributed.