A 16-year-old was arrested and charged in the shooting death of a teenager Sunday in an east Charlotte neighborhood, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Detectives were called to William Reynolds Drive just before 12 p.m. A Channel 9 crew could see the area was blocked off by CMPD cars, and a crime scene investigation van had pulled up.
CMPD Maj. Jackie Bryley said police already had someone in custody.
“Upon their arrival, they located a juvenile victim with an apparent gunshot wound. This juvenile victim was pronounced on the scene. Right now we have one person in custody and we are not looking for any additional suspects in this case,” Briley said.
According to the police report, the victim was 15 years old. His identity has not yet been released. The report also indicated he and the shooting suspect knew each other.
The 16-year-old was charged with involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a minor.
Channel 9′s Glenn Counts spoke with neighbors over the weekend who said the family has lived in their community for five to six years. Rosarios Santos told Channel 9 that she is grieving for the family.
“It is sad. I mean that’s the situation that affects me, you know. Like because I’m a mom. I’m a mom and I hope that never happens to me to anybody,” Santos said.
At the Charlotte City Council meeting Monday, CMPD Deputy Chief David Robinson says kids were playing with a gun Sunday when the 15-year-old was shot.
On Sunday, Maj. Bryley reminded everyone of the importance of gun safety.
“There are different tips in place: gun locks, safes, things of that nature to ensure that any weapon that a juvenile may have access to can be properly secured and locked,” Bryley said.
‘We need to talk to the youth’
If it seems like more kids are dying by guns nowadays, you’re not wrong. According to one study, the gun death rate among kids went up by 50% from 2019 to 2021. That means seven kids per day are dying by guns in America.
Kass Ottley heads a group called Seeking Justice Charlotte. She said these types of incidents have become all too common.
“You know, a lot of these kids have no idea,” she said. “They’re watching these things on TV, they’re watching these video games and they don’t realize once you pull that trigger, it’s final.”
Channel 9 also learned that the teen’s family has lived here for several years after emigrating from Suriname.
Ottley said she’s tired of seeing so many young kids die from guns, and said what people are doing to help isn’t working.
“It’s usually a bunch of adults, elected officials, police, all these folks, but we need to talk to the youth. We need them to be centered,” Ottley said. “We need a space where they are in abundance and we sit there and we listen.”
The U.S. had had more than 4,300 deaths by firearm in 2020, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
CMPD has made strides in preventing gun violence. Last year, officers took more than 3,100 guns off the streets. They also made more than 14,000 arrests in all of 2022.
CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings mentioned earlier this month that the city’s violence interrupters program is working and he supports it being expanded.
“It’s refreshing to me as the police chief to know that we are partnering with the county and the city government, and also to make sure that we bring the resources to these communities so that we can stop that cyclical criminal activity that we’ve seen in these communities,” he said. “So I think it’s very helpful. I know there’s some thoughts and ideas about expanding it and I look forward to that, and continuing that partnership.”
>> CLICK HERE for the full 2022 crime report from CMPD.
Police said the investigation into this case is active and ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a homicide unit detective.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
(WATCH BELOW: CMPD officer shoots armed suspect during incident in University City area)