Crime & Courts

A Chinese teacher was shot in South End in 2016. CMPD is still looking for her killer.

Three years after a Union County elementary school teacher was fatally shot in South End, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are still looking for her killer.

Ruijuan Guo, 33, was shot as she left a concert with her fiancé and friends on Sept. 9, 2016. She died at Carolinas Medical Center five days later.

Guo had moved to the United States from China four years earlier, police said. She was teaching Mandarin at Waxhaw’s Kensington Elementary School when she was killed. Kensington’s students and faculty wore purple, her favorite color, and brought sunflowers to school to support her while she was in the hospital.

Guo was killed in a robbery, CMPD Lt. Bryan Crum said Tuesday as the department asked for the public’s help in solving the case. Police think she did not know her killer, Crum said, but that it was also not a random crime.

“She was not targeted, but her fiancé was ... (because) he typically would have money on him,” Crum said. The fiancé has cooperated with police and is not a suspect, Crum said, adding that his money came from a “legal business.”

One of the would-be robbers shot Guo while her fiancé was reaching for his wallet, Crum said. Her fiancé and one of their friends stayed behind to try to help her, but another friend ran away, Crum said.

That friend was 40-year-old Louis Henry Fuqua, who went by Joe, Crum said. He was found dead at the Econo Lodge on Clanton Road on Sept. 12, three days after the initial shooting, while Guo was still in the hospital.

Investigators believe the shootings are connected.

“Joe was a suspect in Ruijuan’s homicide,” Crum said. “Joe did not kill Ruijuan. He did participate in the planning of the robbery that ultimately led to her death.”

Police believe Fuqua cared about Guo and did not intend for her to be killed, and that he may have been killed so that he wouldn’t talk to police about what happened, Crum said.

One person — 36-year-old Michael Mandrell Marble — has been charged with Fuqua’s death, but police say they still have a lot of questions about both shootings.

Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have raised the reward for anyone who can provide information about Guo’s death to $15,000. They welcome anonymous tips, CMPD Lt. Brad Koch said.

Anyone with information about Guo’s death can call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visit their website, police said.

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