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Teen drowns in Charlotte pond, thinking police were in pursuit

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/28/18/23/dn8A9.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    The aunt and father of the missing teen, Demonta Deshawn Gaither, wait as Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and a dive team search a pond off Randolph Road on Monday looking for Gaither. The Charlotte Fire Deparment’s diving team discovered the teen’s body in early afternoon.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/28/09/50/UoiU5.Em.138.jpeg|316
    By Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and a Charlotte Fire Department dive team were at a pond off Randolph Road Monday searching for a missing teen who they had been told jumped into the pond Thursday. They discovered the teen’s body early Monday afternoon.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/28/18/22/7dFcP.Em.138.jpeg|283
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and a dive team were at a pond off Randolph Road searching for a missing teen Monday. The Charlotte Fire Department’s dive team was called in and spent about two hours crisscrossing the lake in a boat, apparently using sonar equipment. The search ended with the discovery of Gaither’s body.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/28/11/58/NU20z.Em.138.jpeg|149
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and a Charlotte dive team are at a pond off Randolph Road on Monday, April 28, 2014, reportedly looking for a missing teen. Police have not discussed why they have cordoned off an area around the pond, in the rear of Randolph Road Park.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/28/12/03/SWYZB.Em.138.jpeg|145
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and a Charlotte dive team are at a pond off Randolph Road on Monday, April 28, 2014, reportedly looking for a missing teen. Police have not discussed why they have cordoned off an area around the pond, in the rear of Randolph Road Park.

More Information


Police say a 19-year-old man drowned in a southeast Charlotte pond, shortly after being chased by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers.

CMPD said officers had given up the pursuit last Thursday night before the man jumped into the water.

Demonta Deshawn Gaither was reported missing Sunday and his body was found Monday afternoon in the pond off Randolph Road.

The chain of events began about 10 p.m. Thursday, police said, when someone called 911 to report two men trying to break into cars in the 3200 block of Eastover Ridge Drive. Officers said they arrived and spotted two men fitting the description of the suspects.

Police began running after the men, but CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said police gave up the pursuit at the edge of woods along Billingsley Road.

“It was determined that no crime actually occurred, so officers began to back away from the scene,” said Capt. Cecil Brisbon during a news conference Monday.

Gaither’s mother reported her son missing Sunday, saying he had not been seen since possibly jumping into a pond off Billingsley Road with police in pursuit.

Investigators said Cedric Young, 17, told police he was the other person with Gaither that night. Young told police the two jumped into the water, Brisbon said.

Tufano said police never saw either man get into the pond.

Young later showed police where Gaither jumped into the water. Investigators said Young told them that he knew that police were not chasing them anymore by the time they reached the pond. But the two jumped into the pond anyway.

Young exited the pond and tried unsuccessfully to find his friend. After about an hour, he went home, Brisbon said.

After talking to Young, police began searching Monday morning at the pond. The Charlotte Fire Department’s dive team was called in and spent about two hours crisscrossing the lake in a boat, using sonar equipment. Shortly after noon, divers entered the water.

About an hour later, the search ended with the discovery of Gaither’s body.

The Observer’s Davie Hinshaw and Elisabeth Arriero contributed.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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