Just hours after Charlotte-Mecklenburg police pleaded with the public for help in solving a rash of homicides, police responded to another murder Friday afternoon.
Late Friday, CMPD announced it is moving more officers to areas where violent crime has recently occurred. Officers will focus on suspicious activity and contact known offenders to try to curb the violence.
In what would be the city’s seventh homicide since Jan. 1, police responded at 4:30 p.m. Friday to a yard on Morning Breeze Lane off Old Mount Holly Road and Rozzelles Ferry Road in northwest Charlotte. Medic treated the shooting victim for life-threatening injuries and took the male to Carolinas Medical Center, where he died.
Police said the victim and suspect knew each other, and that the shooting was drug-related. No other information was immediately available.
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Three other of this year’s cases remain unsolved while police on Friday made arrests in two more homicides.
Massaquoi Kotay, 45, was found fatally shot in his African imported foods store in the 4400 block of North Tryon Street, near Sugar Creek Road, on Thursday afternoon. He was killed during a robbery, police said.
Kotay owned Mina African Mart and was prominent in Charlotte’s Liberian community, his family said.
Early Friday, police arrested Desmond Jarmel Black, 20, on murder and armed robbery charges. Black was arrested without incident.
On Thursday night, Milton Ricardo Graham, 37, was fatally stabbed during an argument with his long-time girlfriend in the 500 block of Blendwood Drive, off The Plaza in northeast Charlotte, police said.
Latisha Toloria Johnson, 31, was charged with second-degree murder. She was found with her family after leaving the homicide scene, according to police.
Police are asking for help in solving what they call the random shooting of 14-year-old Anthony Frazier in east Charlotte on Jan. 2. Anthony, the son of Kannapolis police officer Daniel Frazier, was shot in a car as he returned to a family member’s home after celebrating his birthday at a restaurant.
Also unsolved is the Jan. 2 fatal shooting of Natanael Jose Rodriguez, 22, in the 6500 block of Monroe Road, and the Jan. 4 fatal shooting of Jabari Sultan Stewart outside his home on Stonefort Court in northwest Charlotte.
Homicides on the rise
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.
The city’s homicide rate for 2016 was at a seven-year high. The 67 homicides were more than at any time since 2008 and above the city’s 10-year average of about 61.
At a news conference at police headquarters Friday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Deputy Police Chief Doug Gallant urged the public to call police or Crime Stoppers with information about this year’s unsolved killings “so we can clear these as quickly as possible.”
Police released figures showing Crime Stopper tips fell from 2,454 in 2015 to 2,301 last year. Police have received 69 tips on crimes so far this year.
Police encourage anyone with information about the unsolved homicides or other cases to call 704-432-TIPS (8477) and speak directly to a homicide detective, or call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.