Ja’Ron McGill was walking home from his pregnant girlfriend’s house in east Charlotte when he was shot on Aug. 2, 2009. He died the next day, at age 19.
He never got to meet his son, Ja’Ron McGill II, but the boy is 7 now, and spends a lot of time with his paternal grandparents, James and Jackie McGill.
They see echoes of his dad all the time – almost like he’s a reincarnation, James McGill said Thursday.
The McGills are talking about their son now, on the anniversary of his death, out of a hope that someone might finally come forward with information.
Their grandchild smiles a lot, and Ja’Ron loved to smile, Jackie McGill said. Their grandson eats like his dad, and he knows all about him, thanks to a memorial wall in their house.
Ja’Ron McGill played the drums for a local church and wanted to work in aviation someday, his parents said. He was a senior at Hawthorne High when he died and worked at the airport’s Brookstone store. He finished his last shift hours before he was shot.
McGill was quiet, his mom said.
“We never had any problems with him. He was a blessing,” she said.
Soon after McGill died, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department organized a homicide support group for victims’ families. The McGills have been loyal participants in the group, which meets monthly, and they sometimes go to homicide scenes to provide immediate support for families, they said.
Eight years later, no one has been arrested in McGill’s death. The wait has felt even longer for his family.
“Months seem like years. Years seem like decades,” James McGill said.
CMPD’s Cold Case Unit is taking a fresh look at the case, which began with a call about shots fired at about 11:30 p.m. on that summer day in 2009, near the intersection of Lanecrest Drive and Colby Place. Officers found McGill on the side of the road with a gunshot wound to his stomach.
Witnesses reported seeing a light colored Toyota Corolla parked at the intersection of Colby Place and Milton Road. It was occupied by three men, police said. Police say several gunshots were heard and McGill was seen running down Colby Place. Observer stories about the incident say McGill was confronted by several people in the minutes before the shooting.
The suspects’ vehicle was last seen traveling outbound on Milton Road towards North Sharon Amity Drive, police said.
Six weeks after the murder, hundreds of Hawthorne students held a memorial in McGill’s honor. He was the city’s 30th homicide that year.
This is the second time police have gone to the public for help solving the case. In 2015, a similar plea was made.
“We have no answers. We trust God, we trust the detectives,” James McGill said Thursday.
Maybe circumstances have changed for someone who was uncomfortable speaking up back then, CMPD Capt. Chris Dozier said.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information in the case, and the family’s church has raised an additional $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.