Just five days into the new year, Charlotte is on track to top last year’s homicide rate, which was an average of one murder every five and a half days.
So far this year, the city has had four killings in five days, including a 14-year-old boy shot while sitting in the back of his aunt’s car.
This time last year, Charlotte had only one homicide, involving a man who was shot Jan. 3 on Beatties Ford Road. The shooter turned himself in and police learned he and the victim were acquaintances who were arguing at the time of the shooting.
Charlotte’s latest murder victim hasn’t yet been identified by police. He was killed late Wednesday, Jan. 4.
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Police say it happened in the 6200 block of Stonefort Court in north Charlotte. They arrived and found a man suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Carolinas Medical Center and was pronounced dead. Police were looking for witnesses over night Thursday.
As for the other three murders:
- On Monday, Jan. 2, at 12:05 a.m., police were called to the 6500 block of Monroe Road where they found Natanael Jose Rodriguez, 22, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound.
- On Monday, Jan. 2, at 10:20 p.m., Anthony Frazier, age 14, was shot on Finchley Drive by one of two men who were reportedly hiding in the bushes outside his aunt’s home. He died the next day. Frazier is the son of Kannapolis police officer Daniel Frazier. A $5,000 reward is offered for tips in finding the men responsible.
- On Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 1:48 a.m., Shenika Monique Simpson, 37, was fatally stabbed in the 1600 block of Vancouver Drive, near Interstate 85 and West Sugar Creek Road. Michael Joseph Boone, 31, was arrested at the scene and later charged with first degree murder. Boone and Simpson knew each other, police said.
The homicide rate for 2016 was a seven-year high. The total homicide count as of Dec. 30 was 67, a higher number than at any time since 2008. It’s significantly above the city’s 10-year average of about 61.
Fifty-four of the victims were male and 13 were female, including the oldest – Charlene Norris, 79 – and the youngest, 10-month-old Taraya Shanae Beecham. At least one, Donsha Seren Rankin, was pregnant.
Three of the victims were too young for kindergarten; 13 victims were 20 or younger.
Most were shot; at least five were stabbed. One, Amanda Strous, died in an intentionally set fire at her Steele Creek apartment.