Crime & Courts

Three charged in fatal Charlotte shooting. Homicide tally about to reach 2018’s total.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police detectives have charged three people in the shooting death of a teenager Monday afternoon near Beatties Ford Road and Lasalle Street in northwest Charlotte.

Police officers charged Juan Zamora, 17, Andy Garcia, 16 and a 15-year-old male juvenile for the murder of Alysha Johnson, 17. Her family has been notified of her death, police said.

Each of the three suspects were charged with first-degree murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery. Zamora and Garcia will be transported to the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office. The 15-year old male juvenile was transported to a Juvenile Detention Facility.

Police were responding to an assault with a deadly weapon call around 3 p.m. when they found Johnson’s body, according to CMPD Maj. Dave Robinson. She was pronounced dead at the scene, near the 2200 block of Beatties Ford Road.

About 20 CMPD cars were at the scene around 4 p.m., blocking Beatties Ford in both directions.

Robinson said good descriptions from witnesses helped police move quickly.

“We preach all the time about the community’s involvement in these situations, how the police can’t do it alone,” he said. “The community stepped up in a big way.”

He said it’s too early to say whether Johnson was targeted.

The killing is a blow to an area that’s been renovating its reputation, he said.

“Beatties Ford Road, people can talk all they want about violence in this area, but Beatties Ford Road’s had a real resurgence in safety, a sense of security and pride in this area,” he said.

Monday’s death brings Charlotte’s homicide tally to 56 for the year. There were 57 homicides in 2018.

“(We need) community members who step up and say, ‘You know what, that’s just not right,’” Robinson said. “It’s not right for somebody to get shot in any capacity or any situation, but particularly in broad daylight here along Beatties Ford Road.”

At a news conference in April, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Chris Dozier said there is “no rhyme or reason” that could explain the increase in homicides.

“People (are) resorting to firearms ... for what we, doing investigations, determine are fairly minor arguments or disagreements that just become worse and worse and blow up into what eventually becomes a homicide,” Dozier said at the time.

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Jane Wester is a Charlotte native and has been covering criminal justice and public safety for The Charlotte Observer since May 2017.