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Pregnant Charlotte teen was fatally shot at bus stop. Cops arrest man – 9 years later

After Tiffany Wright’s death in 2009, more than 100 people participated in a candelight vigil at Southside Park.
After Tiffany Wright’s death in 2009, more than 100 people participated in a candelight vigil at Southside Park. THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

Police on Friday announced an arrest in the 2009 fatal shootings of a 15-year-old and her baby who was delivered at the scene.

Royce Anthony Mitchell, the 45-year-old suspect, “had been on our radar since 2009,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lt. Susan Manassah said at a news conference at police headquarters on Friday afternoon.

Royce Mitchell.jpeg
Royce Mitchell

The morning Tiffany Rena Wright died, Mitchell, who police said was her adoptive brother, was charged with statutory rape and indecent liberties with a minor, according to a 2011 Charlotte Observer article.

The charges against Mitchell were dropped “after DNA tests revealed he was not the father of Tiffany’s child,” the article said. “Without Tiffany alive to testify, prosecutors said they had no evidence to support the accusations.”

On Friday, police said they had only “circumstantial evidence” in the 2009 shooting until someone from the community finally came forward with more information, the lieutenant said.

Manassah said the person who came forward with more information recently “said it had been weighing on his conscience and that “ ’I’ve got to to talk to somebody about this.’ ”

Tiffany Rena Wright, who attended Hawthorne High, was waiting for her school bus when she was shot, The Charlotte Observer reported in an article on Sept. 24, 2009.

Tiffany was 32 weeks pregnant at the time.

Tiffany’s baby girl, Aaliyah Faye Wright, was delivered at the scene but died six days later at Carolinas Medical Center, police said at Friday’s news conference.

According to the 2009 article, “on the day of Tiffany’s killing, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police jailed Mitchell for statutory rape and indecent liberties with a child, naming Tiffany as the victim.”

Mitchell’s mother was Tiffany’s adopted mom, Manassah said, although the shooting “was not a domestic violence case,” she said at the news conference, declining to elaborate.

Police obtained arrest warrants on Mitchell, who is unemployed and has spent time in prison, and arrested him earlier Friday, Manassah said. He was being interviewed at police headquarters later Friday before police planned to take him before a magistrate and have him jailed.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak