August 18, 2014

Girl, 10, describes weekend shooting that wounded her and 2 officers

The three people who were wounded in the incident, which drew a crowd of law enforcement officers to a quiet residential street Sunday, are all recovering, police said.

Shanise Laney, 10, had just sat down at her house to get her hair done by her godsister, Keyonna Holmes, when she said a neighbor appeared in an open front window and asked them to come closer.

Holmes’ boyfriend, Chris, opened the door to Brandon Jamorris Brewer, 27, who lived across the street from them on Kingville Drive in northeast Charlotte.

He asked for a cigarette. They said they didn’t have one.

Brewer then asked for Shanise’s mom and boyfriend, but they weren’t home.

“He got mad and cocked his gun back,” said Shanise, adding that Holmes’ boyfriend slammed the door at that point. “Then we heard gunshots and we got down.”

Shanise ducked behind the kitchen wall. But as she crawled across the kitchen to be closer to Holmes’ boyfriend, a shotgun pellet struck her right cheek.

“I thought maybe we wouldn’t be able to get out of the situation,” Shanise said.

It’s not clear why Brewer was looking for Shanise’s mom and boyfriend.

Brewer, who is accused of shooting two Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers and Shanise, was jailed Monday morning, facing 21 charges in connection with the Sunday afternoon incident.

Brewer was charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, among other charges.

Bond was set at more than $850,000 for Brewer. His initial court appearance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday.

On Monday – as Shanise sat in the living room watching TV and her brother, Jonathan, swept up leftover glass on the floor – Shanise’s mom, Shanda Laney, 35, said she’s still in shock over what happened.

She said she’s known Brewer for years. In fact, she said, her children, including Shanise, often visited his home to play with his 6-month-old daughter. Sometimes he gave them snacks such as chips and Popsicles. When he cooked out, he offered them hot dogs.

“It’s a nightmare to hear your child got hurt in a situation that shouldn’t have happened,” she said.

A call to 911

According to police, a woman called 911 shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday and said her boyfriend tried to attack her at a home off Tom Hunter Road, just off North Tryon Street. The road runs parallel to Kingsville Drive. When officers arrived, they couldn’t find her.

Then at 3:34 p.m., a resident on Shanise’s road called to report a man was shooting in the street.

Police said when officers arrived again they were sprayed with shotgun pellets. Police Chief Rodney Monroe said one officer was hit in a leg and an arm. The other “took a couple of shots … to the face and the elbow.”

One house across the street was also hit. The resident, who didn’t want to be identified, said he opened his door at the sound of gunfire only to have police tell him to get back inside the house.

About 4 p.m. Sunday, police took Brewer into custody in connection with the shooting. Monroe said police do not believe any officers fired any shots during the incident.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said the two officers, Kevin Stafford and Eric Bojaj, were sent home from Carolinas Medical Center.

Stafford has been a member of the police department since August 2011; Bojaj since January 2010. Both are currently assigned to patrol in the North Tryon Division.

Shanise, who is entering fifth grade at Newell Elementary School, was released from the hospital Sunday night. Laney said her daughter didn’t require stitches, although her wounds are “a little swollen.”

“It looks like she has two bite marks,” she said, adding that the pellet traveled through Shanise’s cheek to the other side.

Shanise said at the time she was struck, she didn’t notice any pain. She was more focused on where to take cover during the shooting.

On Monday, glass was sprayed across the front porch of Shanise’s home. Tilted blinds, half-raised, hung behind the broken window.

Inside, Shanise relaxed in front of the television, two blue-and-yellow Band-Aids on her face the only remnants of her frightening ordeal the day before.

Still, the family is on edge. When the family’s refrigerator made a sudden noise, Holmes, 20, jumped.

A lengthy record

A drop in property crime brought the overall crime rate for the North Tryon Division, which includes Kingville Drive, down 11 percent for the first half of the year, compared with 2013, police statistics show. But violent crime was up 1 percent and aggravated assaults involving firearms up 22 percent.

Brewer has a criminal record dating back to at least 2005, including a 2007 felony conviction for robbery with a dangerous weapon and a 2006 felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, public records indicate.

Brewer’s other convictions include misdemeanor possession of marijuana up to half an ounce and felony hit-and-run, public records show.

Records show he was released from prison in July 2013 after serving more than five years for robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Sunday was the first time a CMPD officer was shot on duty since January when Shane Page, 42, was shot twice in the midsection by a robbery suspect.

While sitting on her front porch Monday afternoon – just inches from where she said Brewer stood on Sunday before he started shooting inside her house – Shanise said she’s grateful.

“I feel lucky that I’m alive today and that I’m able to see my family and my friends and everyone that I truly know and that I love,” she said. Staff writers Bruce Henderson, Steve Lyttle and Gavin Off and staff photographer Davie Hinshaw contributed.

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