Charlotte saw two homicides in seven hours, including a deadly carjacking

Police say the gray and blue car in front of the CMPD cruiser is connected to the fatal carjacking Friday morning.
Police say the gray and blue car in front of the CMPD cruiser is connected to the fatal carjacking Friday morning.

Two people were killed over a seven-hour stretch in Charlotte, starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, bringing the city’s homicide total to 57 for the year.

Charlotte is on pace to record more than 90 homicides this year, a dramatic jump. Last year, the city had 67.

The latest killing occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Friday in the 2300 block of Ginger Lane, off East W.T. Harris Boulevard. The incident began as a carjacking, reported the Observer’s news partner WBTV.

Officers said they arrived at the Meadowbrook apartments and found a man and woman who had been shot. The man died, but the woman was taken by Medic to Carolinas Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Police identified the dead man as Joshua Anthoni Burris, 23. Authorities initially identified him as Joshua Duckworth. The woman has not yet been identified, but WBTV reported she is 19 years old.

Police did not provide additional details of the case, but WBTV reported a Chevy Impala connected to the shootings was found 2 miles from the scene. CMPD officials told WBTV that the “suspects stole the victim’s car after shooting him twice and killing him. Another victim was present in the car and also shot in the hand.”

WSOC TV reported the incident also involved a robbery, and that the victims were randomly targeted.

Carjacking homicides appear to have been rare in Charlotte in recent years. A CMPD spokesman could not immediately cite the most recent case before Friday’s shooting. Observer archives show none more recent than 13 years ago.

In July 2004, two men killed a Charlotte woman in front of her 11-year-old daughter and two family friends during an attempted carjacking. Olivia Gail Cook Sigmon, 52, was shot when she pulled up to a traffic light at Tuckaseegee and Berryhill roads.

In November of the same year, a carjacker fatally shot Ronnie Page, 32, several times at close range as he dropped his niece at her home off Albemarle Road. The 11-year-old ran away unharmed but the gunman drove 1 1/2 miles with a 4-year-old strapped into a car seat before releasing the child unharmed.

In June 1996, a man armed with a shotgun walked up to Donald Allen’s Honda, which was stopped at a traffic light near Charlotte’s airport, ordered him out of the car and shot him to death. The shooter then drove the car to Roanoke, Va., and shot his ex-girlfriend. Aquilia Barnette was sentenced to death in 1998 for the murders.

Burris’ shooting came just seven hours after another deadly shooting in the 2000 block of Pleasant Dale Drive at 7:19 p.m. Thursday. The victim was identified as Jamario Lacatria McNeely, also 23.

Police charged George Fernandez, 27, with murder in McNeely’s death. Additional details were not immediately available.

George Fernandez, charged with murder Mecklenburg County Jail

Of Charlotte’s 57 homicide victims so far this year, 42 were shot. Others were beaten, stabbed, neglected or hit by a vehicle.

Anyone with information about the latest cases is asked to call 704-432-8477 and speak to a detective. The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visit the Crime Stoppers mobile app website at http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.

Researcher Maria David contributed.