Friends remembered Charles Michael Middleton on Saturday as a selfless man who spent his time helping anyone who needed it.
Middleton, a 62-year-old who went by “Mike,” died of a gunshot wound in his home in the Sedgefield community of Charlotte on Friday morning.
But friends said he would not want to be known as a victim. Instead, they described a man with a tight-knit group of friends who was always reaching out to new people.
“He never faltered on being there for people,” said neighbor and friend Chris Taylor. “He was always there to reach his hand out and welcome a newcomer.”
Taylor and other friends said Middleton spent much of his time serving as a sponsor for men seeking to break addiction through 12-step recovery programs and would help people of all ages, races and backgrounds.
He was semi-retired but still worked part time in credit and collections. He had also recently started taking theater appreciation classes at Central Piedmont Community College.
Middleton and his friends regularly bought season tickets to plays at the college and would always meet up for dinner or coffee beforehand.
“If you got into one of these things, it was an all-day affair,” friend Jeter Walker said. “It was good friends hanging out together.”
Middleton was serious about his faith and had recently joined Caldwell Presbyterian Church.
He doted on his cats, a tabby named Bella and a black cat named Chance. He liked to take long walks and swim at the Mecklenburg Aquatic Center.
But he was best known as man who loved meeting people.
“He was a very outgoing guy,” friend Wayne Cathey said. “He never met a stranger.”
Little information has been made available on the investigation into Middleton’s death.
Police said Friday that they received a call at 5:45 a.m. about gunshots in the 300 block of Elmhurst Road. When officers arrived, they found a man with a gunshot wound. Middleton was pronounced dead at the scene.
As of Saturday afternoon, Charlotte police had announced no arrests and said they had no updates to share.
“We’re all at a loss about who would do this,” Taylor said. “It’s just one of those things where you step back and think, ‘How could anybody do such a thing like this to such a sweet guy?’ ”