More than 75 Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers tracked down a suspect early Friday morning, arresting a man they say gunned down a 15-year-old boy hours earlier at a west Charlotte park.
Police say the suspect, a 22-year-old man, might have been responsible for another murder -- during an attempted robbery late Thursday night in west Charlotte.
Investigators also say they believe the suspect, Reginald Lamar Johnson, started a string of crimes Wednesday afternoon in south Charlotte.
Police searched furiously for the murder suspect late Thursday night and early Friday, even pulling some officers off a DWI checkpoint to help in the search. With officers patrolling in cars and the police helicopter hovering overhead, authorities looked for the suspect.
The break came about 1 a.m., when officers spotted the suspect's vehicle in the Double Oaks area near Statesville Avenue.
"After a brief pursuit, he wrecked his vehicle," police Officer Robert Fey told reporters afterward. "He got out and ran into an area of heavy vegetation."
Officers surrounded the man, and he gave up a few minutes later.
Police say Johnson was driving a silver 2002 Nissan, the car that was described as the getaway vehicle in the shooting death of 15-year-old William Adams at 5 Points Park shortly before 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Adams, who was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived at Carolinas Medical Center, is the sixth homicide victim under 18 in Mecklenburg this year -- and the second in three days.
A suspect in the murder earlier this week, Vanessa Hines, surrendered to police overnight.
The second murder Thursday night happened about 11:30 p.m. on Keswick Avenue, not far from the park shooting five hours earlier. Police say a suspect approached a man and woman and demanded money. When the victims said they didn't have money, the suspect shot the woman in the chest.
She was taken to Carolinas Medical Center and died later. Her name has not been released.
Police say the believe Johnson's crime spree began shortly before noon Wednesday -- in the 1700 block of Park Drive, in south Charlotte. That is in the Elizabeth community, about a block from Presbyterian Hospital.
A man who was sitting in his car, eating lunch, told police that a suspect approached him and robbed him. The suspect then carjacked the victim's 2002 silver Nissan, police say.
Shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday, a man robbed a victim at the Motel 6 on St. Vardell Lane, near Interstate 77 and Clanton Road. The suspect in that robbery carjacked the victim's 1997 burgundy Ford Expedition. Police say evidence in the crime lead them to believe Johnson was a suspect.
Then, at 6:24 p.m. Thursday, officers were called to the 9-acre park near Beatties Ford Road and Brookshire Freeway. Witnesses told dispatchers that a 15-year-old had been shot.
Police say witnesses described the shooter as a black man wearing dark jeans, a white T-shirt and a baseball cap and carrying a backpack. He fled the park in a silver four-door compact sedan heading away from uptown on Beatties Ford Road.
Adams' death was the 53rd homicide police have investigated in 2008. On Tuesday, 14-year-old Ashante Mayfield was shot to death a few miles away on Beatties Ford Road. Police said a suspect – 19-year-old Vanessa Hines – surrendered to them late Thursday.
Anyone with information about either case should call 704-432-TIPS to speak to the lead homicide detective. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1400.