As Charlotte-Mecklenburg police investigate the first homicide of 2013, friends mourned the man who was fatally shot Tuesday night.
Benjamin Sky McDaniel, 19, was shot to death in the 8400 block of Goldsfield Drive during what police are calling an apparent drug deal. Jerik Simmons, 21, was also shot but was in stable condition early Wednesday.
Police on Wednesday charged Dontae Leverne Torrance, 19, with McDaniels murder, plus charges of attempted murder, conspiracy and obtaining property by false pretenses.
Torrance, McDaniel and Simmons all attended Independence High School, their Facebook pages show. McDaniel and Simmons were best friends who spent much of their free time together, according to other friends of McDaniel.
Those friends remember McDaniel as someone who loved to play sports and hoped to one day be a basketball coach.
He was a big basketball fan. He was trying to save up money to go to school and get his teachers degree and coach basketball, said 20-year-old Patrick Stewart, who used to play basketball with McDaniel and graduated a year ahead of him at Independence.
McDaniel was working at a local Bojangles, said Michael Brynarski, another friend.
He said McDaniel was a fan of Kobe Bryant and often walked around with a sketch book, which McDaniel used to draw out basketball plays.
Ben was always such a straight shooter, everybody spoke highly of him, Stewart said.
CMPD homicide detectives were looking for two suspects believed to be involved in the shootings but hadnt released information about the second suspect.
Torrance has had other run-ins with the law, a criminal background check shows. In 2011, he faced charges of assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor larceny, but those charges were dismissed when his accuser didnt show up to court. In June 2011, another misdemeanor simple assault charge against Torrance was dropped but he was warned not to threaten or harass his accuser in the case. That same month, he was found guilty in another case of misdemeanor shoplifting and concealing goods and was sentenced to community service.
Anyone with information about the Tuesday homicide is urged to call 704-432-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Staff writers April Bethea and David Perlmutt contributed