Crime & Courts

3 charged in pursuit that caused CMS lockdowns

Three teens were arrested after a pursuit Monday that forced the lockdown of four Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in the University City area, police say.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said the arrests are in connection with a Sunday morning carjacking in western Mecklenburg County, in addition to Monday’s pursuit.

Charged in the case were Elijah Craig, 19, and a pair of 18-year-olds, Tyquan Powell and Christopher Jones.

Investigators said a man was sleeping in the back seat of a friend’s Jeep Cherokee about 3 a.m. Sunday on Whitewater Drive, when two men awakened him, robbed him of his phone, and stole the vehicle. The victim was not injured.

CMPD University City Division officers spotted the Jeep on Monday and attempted to stop the vehicle as it was pulling into Vance High School, off IBM Drive near Harris Boulevard and I-85. Police said the vehicle did not stop immediately. It instead pulled into the back parking lot, where the occupants jumped and ran.

Vance High and three other nearby schools – James Martin Middle, Nathaniel Alexander Elementary and Morehead Elementary – were put on lockdown immediately.

Police said the vehicle’s driver, identified as Powell, dropped a handgun magazine while fleeing from officers in the woods behind the high school. Investigators said Jones and Craig were taken into custody quickly, and Powell was spotted and apprehended a short time later while walking on Ikea Boulevard.

Jones and Powell were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and resisting a public officer, and Craig was charged with resisting a public officer. Police said Powell later was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. Those charges apparently are related to the carjacking case.

The three suspects have records. Powell was arrested last June. Jones has four arrests since last August. Craig has been arrested seven times since June 2011, according to jail records.

Authorities said the investigation is continuing, and anyone with information in the case is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.