Crime & Courts

Police: Teens’ eight-hour crime spree in Charlotte left man dead

Several youth gathered together in the center city and hatched a plan for a crime spree, police said.

During an eight-hour period Sunday morning, the teens pulled up beside random victims at traffic signals or stopped them on the street, police say. They followed one man to his home and carjacked him.

In total, the teens are suspected in crimes in five separate incidents in north, east and west Charlotte.

The final crime, around 10 a.m., left a 44-year-old man dead in the Derita neighborhood, police say.

“They just were driving around the city and saw people that they thought were suitable victims,” said Maj. Mike Smathers, who heads Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s criminal investigations bureau.

At a news conference Monday, investigators announced that they had arrested 16-year-old Randy Shaun Lloyd and a 15-year-old juvenile. N.C. law prohibits police from releasing the names of crime suspects who are 15 or younger.

Police say they are seeking at least two others in connection with the spree. Police haven’t released those suspects’ names or elaborated on their alleged roles. Many of the crimes occurred near the Sugar Creek Road and North Tryon Street corridor.

A jogger targeted by the teens was robbed of $4, police said. Ronald Glenn Gullette, the final victim, was shot during an attempted robbery and died outside his house on Hemby Woods Drive.

It was unclear where Lloyd lived, but he was a student at Garinger High School until he dropped out in February, school officials say.

8-hour crime spree

Over eight hours, police say the suspects targeted seven victims. Here’s how police described the morning:

2:30 a.m.: A suspect with a gun approached three people sitting inside a teal Saturn on North Tryon Street near Sugar Creek Road. He ordered the victims out, then drove away in the Saturn.

4 a.m.: A 35-year-old man driving his gray Dodge Ram pickup truck near West Boulevard was approached by a suspect with a black object in his hand at a traffic light. He demanded the victim’s phone and truck and drove off.

Police say the gray pickup truck would play a role in future robberies later that morning.

7:45 a.m.: A 29-year-old man was jogging on Canterwood Drive near Tom Hunter Road and North Tryon Street when a gray Dodge pickup pulled alongside him. A suspect got out of the truck’s passenger side and demanded money. The jogger handed over $4, and the suspects drove away in the gray truck.

8:20 a.m.: A 66-year-old man was headed home in his Pontiac Vibe when a gray Dodge pickup truck pulled alongside him. After the man pulled into his driveway near East W.T. Harris Boulevard, an armed suspect approached the man and demanded his car and his wallet.

The victim ran away to get help. The suspect drove off in the Pontiac.

9:57 a.m.: Police believe someone approached Gullette, the final victim, while he was inside his car outside his house. The suspect made some sort of demand and – at some point – fatally shot Gullette.

Gullette was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics a short time later.

Smathers said he didn’t know why Gullette was shot while the other victims were left unharmed.

“We don’t have any indication that (Gullette) resisted,” Smathers said. “He was in his car, just obviously taking care of business on a normal Sunday morning when the suspects targeted him, targeted that vehicle and approached him and shot him without provocation.”

Suspects still sought

Police made contact with one of the suspects about 30 minutes after Gullette was shot.

Around 10:30 a.m. Sunday, a sergeant in the North Tryon Division saw the stolen gray pickup truck at the Somerset Apartments, a complex near where Sugar Creek Road meets Interstate 85.

The officer tried to get the truck’s driver to stop, but the driver refused.

A short car chase ensued. Eventually, the truck stopped, and three people jumped out and ran. A girl and a boy were apprehended by police at the scene, but the third suspect got away.

The 15-year-old boy was ultimately charged with murder, four counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted robbery, Smathers said.

The girl, whose name has also not been released, was charged with resisting officers and was released to the care of her guardians. Police don’t believe she was involved in the robbery or the killings.

Shortly afterward, police signed murder and robbery warrants on Lloyd. He turned himself in at police headquarters Monday afternoon.

He is charged with murder, attempted robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, police said. His bond information wasn’t immediately available.