Crime & Courts

3 charged with murder in teacher’s ‘senseless’ killing in 2016, Charlotte police say

Three years after an elementary school teacher was fatally shot during a robbery in Charlotte’s South End, police on Friday said they obtained warrants charging three men with murder in the case.

Ruijuan Guo, 33, was “senselessly killed,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spokesman Rob Tufano said at a news conference at CMPD headquarters. Guo died days after she was shot as she left a concert with her fiancé and friends on Sept. 9, 2016.

Guo moved to the United States from China four years earlier, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

She was teaching Mandarin at Waxhaw’s Kensington Elementary School when she was killed, the Observer reported in 2016.

On Friday, police said CMPD’s homicide cold case unit charged Cecil Lamont Marble, 40, his brother, Michael Mandrell Marble, 36, and Keric Teron Watt, 34, all of Charlotte, with murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

CMPD Lt. Bryan Crum declined to say what evidence led to the arrests.

“It was a big puzzle with a lot of really small pieces,” Crum said at the news conference.

Police on Thursday arrested Cecil Marble without incident, according to a CMPD news release. Michael Marble was already in the Mecklenburg County jail on charges related to another homicide, CMPD said.

Watt, who is in federal prison, will be served the warrants in the South End case “at a later date,” according to the release.

Crum said Guo and her fiance did not know the Marbles and Watt, but she knew 40-year-old Louis Henry Fuqua — another man implicated in the case.

One of the would-be robbers shot Guo while her fiancé was reaching for his wallet, Crum said at a news conference in July when police asked the public for help solving the case. Her fiancé and one of their friends stayed behind to try to help her, but another friend ran away, Crum said, the Observer reported.

That friend was Fuqua, who went by Joe, Crum said in July. 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, the Observer reported.

Police said in July that they did not believe Fuqua shot the teacher. They said they believe he was killed because he knew who did shoot her.

On Friday, Crum declined to say which of the three suspects in Guo’s killing is suspected of firing the fatal shot.

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

On Friday, Crum said the case remains open and that a $15,000 reward is still offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. He declined to say if police believe anyone else was involved besides those already named.

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

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.
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