Two men arguing on an east Charlotte street Thursday afternoon pulled out guns and shot each other, leaving both men dead in a part of the city that has been plagued by violence in recent months.
Daquan Alston, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene on Ilford Street, which intersects The Plaza near Milton Road. Demetrius Goode, 23, was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he died, police said.
The deaths around 2 p.m. were the 51st and 52nd homicides in Charlotte this year, a 26 percent increase from last year, when police investigated a historic low number of killings.
Neighbors who declined to give their names told the Observer that one of the men had accused the other of breaking into his car and stealing, although police didn’t corroborate that detail, saying the case was still under investigation.
“The victims knew each other,” said Lt. Jeff Harless, who oversees police operations in the part of the city where the shooting occurred. “They were involved in a verbal altercation first. They are not strangers to each other.” Harless wouldn’t elaborate on how the men knew each other, but he said they weren’t related.
Police said they weren’t looking for any more suspects, but were still trying to piece together details of the shooting.
“We’re looking for anybody that may have information,” Harless said. “We’re not saying that we have everyone that was involved. We’re not saying that everyone that’s here on the scene were the only ones that were here on the scene.”
Harless said Alston lived at the home near where the shooting occurred and that Thursday “isn’t the first time that we’ve been at this house.”
Violence has increased across the city this year, and The Plaza has seen several shootings in the last few months.
In August, two people were injured – one seriously – during a drive-by shooting on the same block of the Plaza. Police haven’t said if that shooting was connected to the killings on Thursday.
And late Sunday, two people were shot on Plaza Walk Drive, about two miles west on The Plaza. The victims received life-threatening injuries.
Most United States cities – including Charlotte – have seen a surge in killings this year. During Labor Day weekend last month, Charlotte had five homicides in a two-day period, including the death of a 7-year-old during a birthday party.
Police encouraged anyone with information about the killings to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Tipsters are eligible for rewards for information that leads to an arrest. Davie Hinshaw contributed.