Gun Reports in CMS Hit a 10 Year High

From The Charlotte Observer by Ann Doss Helms, February 22, 2018

As the country reels from the latest mass shooting at a school, a new state report reveals that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools intercepted 19 guns at school last year, far more than any other district in North Carolina.

It marks a 10-year high, in a year when the statewide total declined from 118 to 105. CMS accounts for about 10 percent of total enrollment but almost 20 percent of last year’s guns on school grounds.

The guns were found at schools scattered across the county, including three elementary schools and a selective middle school magnet. None resulted in shootings, and the perennial question is whether CMS has an unusual number of armed students or an especially effective detection system.

Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said Thursday he hopes it’s the latter. The district urges students to speak up if they know a classmate has a weapon, he said, and some firearms are intercepted before the student even enters the building. A gun counts toward the tally if it’s found on school ground.

“The important statistic for me, while we had 19 guns, we did not have a shooting,” Wilcox said.

Wake County, the only North Carolina district larger than CMS, found 13 guns in 2016-17, up from only one the previous year. New Hanover County, a much smaller district than Wake and CMS, had 12.

According to the 2016-17 school crime and violence report, Garinger, Mallard Creek and West Charlotte high schools each had three guns last year, while Rocky River High had two. Eight other schools reported a single gun: Ashley Park PreK-8 School, Crestdale Middle, Hopewell High, Huntingtowne Farms Elementary, Palisades Park Elementary, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, Randolph Middle and Winget Park Elementary.

That might come as news to students and families. Wilcox says CMS doesn’t notify families about guns unless there’s a threat to students.

CMS is reviewing its school safety systems, including physical protection and staff training, after a former student gunned down 17 students and faculty at a Florida high school on Feb. 14.

The presence of guns and violence in schools often reflect trends in the community. Last year saw a spike in homicides in Mecklenburg County, though overall violent crime decreased slightly. Police Chief Kerr Putney has cited the prevalence of illegal guns as one factor in the surge of killings, and the Violent Crime Task Force recently concluded an eight-month investigation with 45 arrests on gun and drug charges.

The largest number of firearms reported in CMS was 28 in 2006-07. The district saw a sharp drop starting in 2008, but the number have risen the last two years.

On Wednesday the Observer requested the tally of guns found at CMS schools so far this year, but the district has not yet provided that information.

KIPP Charlotte, a charter school in northeast Charlotte, reported two guns last year, the only North Carolina charter school to report any.

The tallies are part of the state’s annual report on crime and violence in public schools, which covers such incidents as possession of alcohol, drugs and weapons, assaults on students and staff and sexual offenses. It will be presented to the state Board of Education next week.

In CMS the total number of acts reported went down, from 1,371 to 1,198.

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Published in: on February 28, 2018 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police Officer Attacked at CATS Transit Center

From WCNC, February 17, 2018

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said a G4S police officer was punched repeatedly and knocked out during an altercation in uptown Friday night.

The incident happened around 6:00 p.m. near the transit center. The area of 4th St. near Trade and Davidson was closed for a time while the situation was under investigation.

CMPD said G4S Company Police Officer Jeffery Outen got into an altercation with Reginald Lewis Alexander, 49, who was loitering on the property. Investigators said Officer Outen had asked the man to leave multiple times, but he came back.

“When he tried to restrain him, it’s like he wasn’t having it,” said Thomas Smith, a witnessed to the assault.

Investigators said Alexander punched Officer Outen in the head several times, knocking him to the ground where he hit his head on the sidewalk. Police said the man kept beating Outen while he was unconscious.

Other G4S Police Officers arrived on scene and arrested the suspect. CMPD officers responded as well.

Officer Outen was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He had multiple stitches, a broken nasal bone and a damaged orbital socket.

Alexander has been charged with assault inflicting serious injury on a law enforcement officer.

The brutal attack followed several cases of violence in uptown last year including a 17 year-old who was kidnapped, robbed and assaulted at the transit center over the summer. Within hours of that crime, three men were arrested for a brawl outside the Epicentre.

Published in: on February 28, 2018 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Violent Crime on the Rise at Uptown Charlotte Transit Center

From WCNC, February 20, 2018

Violent crime is on the rise near the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS).

On Monday afternoon, a man was in court accused of assaulting a private police officer on Friday near the transit center in uptown.

The Defenders found more than 200 crimes happened within half a mile of the transit center since the beginning of this year, according to crime mapping. That includes more than 50 assaults. Last summer, a 17-year-old was kidnapped, robbed and assaulted in the same area.

“We’re living in a violent world, so these things are happening more often,” said one woman walking near the transit center.

The Defenders are also looking into violent crimes happening inside the buses. Over the years, video obtained by NBC Charlotte shows a passenger swinging at the CATS bus driver.

Other videos show everything from a person slapped in the face to a person sprayed with mace in the face as well as reports of someone burning clothes.

NBC Charlotte previously reported there were 60 incidents on buses and trains in 2015, with that number jumping to 66 incidents in 2016.

The officer assaulted near the transit center Friday suffered a broken nasal bone, a damaged eye socket and he needed multiple stitches.

“In the line of duty, they put themselves at risk, so of course I feel for that officer. I hope they’re OK,” one woman told NBC Charlotte.

Published in: on February 28, 2018 at 9:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Homicides, Rapes Up In Charlotte; Overall, Crime Down In 2017

From WFAE.org by Gwendolyn Glenn, January 31, 2017

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney painted a mixed picture Wednesday of how his department did in terms of reducing crime in 2017. Putney says overall crime was down by more than 5 percent, but homicides were up 25 percent and rapes increased by 12 percent.

It’s been well reported that homicides were up significantly–from 68 to 85 last year. CMPD Chief Putney says 60 of those cases have been solved. Domestic violence incidents accounted for more than a quarter those homicides. Putney says his officers will be required to take more domestic violence training to better equip them to deal with and prevent these types of incidents. Reported cases of rape increased to 306.

“We believe that in no small part, the reason people are stepping up and reporting these sexual offenses is because of what is going on nationally,” Putney said. “It is becoming a part of who we are as a society to report this kind of thing to hold people accountable. We applaud these sexual assault victims for their courage.”

Putney says other violent crimes and auto thefts were down by nearly 4 percent last year and property crimes and burglaries decreased by about 5 percent.

“What we take solace in is the fact that with that crime reduction, 3,000 fewer people were victimized in 2017 than the year prior, 3,000 fewer families impacted by robbery, car break-ins and having their homes burglarized.” Putney said.

Putney credited some of the crime reductions to his officers getting to know residents better in the communities they patrol. He pointed to initiatives where officers are mentoring and tutoring youths and says it helps that nearly 200,000 residents attended CMPD community engagement functions last year.

Putney made his comments at Faith Memorial Baptist Church in the Lakewood community, just northwest of uptown. That’s where CMPD is expanding one of its new initiatives. Together with non-profit groups and government agencies, the department is trying to reduce crime by focusing on the needs of families. It kicked off last year in the Hidden Valley neighborhood and Putney wants to take it citywide.

“We know if we heal an individual and a family we’re preventing crime. Everybody knows that research demonstrates that if you have mental health issues, lack of education and employment opportunities, and drugs you’re likely to engage in criminal behavior and we want to break the cycle,” Putney said.

Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

York County, SC Sheriff’s Detective Pronounced Dead One Day After Shooting

From Crime in Charlotte, January 18, 2018

A York County, SC Sheriff’s Detective critically injured in a shooting on Tuesday morning, January 17, 2018 was pronounced dead on Wednesday night, January 18, 2018.

The detective was shot during an incident in which three other officers were injured. Michael Doty, who had been a member of the Sheriff’s office for 12 years, was part of a manhunt for a suspect following a domestic incident in an area outside of York on Farrier Lane.

According to reports, the suspect, 47-year-old Christian Thomas McCall, fled the home after a call was made reporting an attack in progress on a woman. He fled into a nearby wooded area where members of the SWAT team as well as K9 officers were involved in a manhunt.

During the incident, McCall opened fire, striking Michael Doty. K9 Deputy Randy Clinton, Sheriff’s Sgt. Buddy Brown, and York Police Sgt. Kyle Cummings were also struck with gunfire.

Doty received critical injuries and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday night. This newest development in the case will likely exacerbate the expected charges of the suspect.

McCall was also shot by officers during the incident and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

The other three officers are expected to survive their injuries.

Published in: on January 20, 2018 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Man Arrested in East-Charlotte Circle K Robbery

From Crime in Charlotte, January 16, 2018

A man has been arrested in connection to the robbery of a Circle K in east Charlotte.

The robbery took place at the convenience store at approximately 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning, January 15, 2016. According to police, the suspect arrived at the location at 7225 Albemarle Road and proceeded into the store where he held a gun to the clerk at the counter and demanded that they open the cash register. An undisclosed amount of money was stolen from the register before the suspect fled in his vehicle.

The clerk was able to write down the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle which assisted police in finding the vehicle before the night was out. Officers located the car and attempted a traffic stop. The suspect refused to stop, leading police on a chase before he lost control of the vehicle and crashed it at a location on Idlewild Road. Police then identified and arrested 40-year-old Melvin Lorenzo Jones Jr.

The suspect was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, careless and reckless driving, driving while license revoked, and operating a motor vehicle while fleeing law enforcement.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on January 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD, Ex-Inmates Team Up to Find Crime-Fighting Solutions

From http://www.wsoctv.com by Dashawn Brown, January 19, 2018

Police Chief Kerr Putney said that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is now working with ex-inmates to tackle violent crime in the city in the Save Our Kids program.

“So, I went to prison the first time when I was 16 years old,” Cedric Dean said.

Dean, 45, who is a Charlotte Native, has spent nearly half of his life in prison. Dean started Save Our Kids in 2012 while he was in prison.

“When I got sentenced, the judge told me that, ‘If you die and come back to life, you’ve still got five years to do,’” Dean said.

Dean is now home 22 years later.

“I had a praying mother that never gave up on me,” he said.

Dean said his work now is to help find solutions in the same community where he was a part of the problem.

“I was the person that the warden would work hand in hand with,” Dean said. “He would say, ‘You know what? Dean, right here, he is closest to the problem, so he is closest to the solution.’ And that’s what Chief Putney has subscribed to.”

Putney voiced his support for Dean’s initiative Friday night and it will be added to an existing community empowerment initiative that CMPD launched last summer.

They’ll also work with officers, educators, professionals and local churches.

It’s a chance that Dean wasn’t sure he’d ever had.

“I’m not a psychologist. I’m a ‘thugologist’ because when it comes to ‘thuggery,’ I know the cause and cure because that was me,” Dean said.

Putney also put out a call for anyone in the community who’s able to help with giving money to help fund these community programs.

Published in: on January 20, 2018 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Searching for Suspect in January 11, 2018 Murder

From http://www.wcnc.com, January 11, 2018

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said a man is on the run following a deadly shooting in west Charlotte.

Shortly after 2 p.m. officers responded to the 4100 block of Carlyle Drive and discovered the body of a woman. Her name will be released once family is notified.

Investigators said they are searching for 23-year-old Jonathan Bennett. He was last seen driving an older, white Ford Expedition with New York license plates HUP3071.

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Detectives said Bennett took an infant with him, Journei Bennett. Around 5:30 p.m., police tweeted the child had been found safe, but the suspect was still at large.

Police told NBC Charlotte another child was found on the scene of the homicide unharmed.

Anyone with information about Bennett is asked to call 704-432-TIPS or visit the Crime Stoppers website.

This is the first homicide reported in the Queen City in 2018.

We checked into Bennett’s criminal history. He’s been charged in the past with assault on a female, communicating threats and misdemeanor larceny.

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 8:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stonehaven Patrol Attempting to Locate Witness to Dog Attack

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Stonehaven Patrol is attempting to locate a witness to the dog attack that happened on Thursday, August 17, 2017 around 8 PM near the intersection of Thermal & Pineburr Roads in which a woman and her dog were injured.

The witness being sought has been described by the victim and another witness as a white male, who was accompanied by his daughter, driving a dark gray or blue Honda sedan. The man and his daughter rendered assistance to the victim and may be able to provide a description of the man who was walking the dog that attacked the victim.

If you know who this witness is please ask them to contact me or provide any information you may have that will help us to identify the dogs owner.

Brian Lutes Stonehaven Community Patrol

980-297-8446

www.scpatrol.org

Published in: on August 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Elementary Teacher Wanted on 26 Counts of Indecent Liberties With a Child

From WBTV, August 18, 2016

An elementary school teacher in Charlotte who was accused of inappropriately touching several young boys and assaulting them during a camp that he held at his home over the summer is facing more charges after police say three more alleged victims came forward.

Taji Brown, 29, is now being sought by police on the additional 26 warrants, which include 13 counts each of indecent liberties with a child and indecent liberties with a student.

According to warrants, an investigation into Brown began in late July when a 10-year-old boy told his mother that Brown inappropriately touched him in the shower while he was spending the night at Brown’s home.

Brown reportedly ran a program called “G.U.D.B.O.Y.S.” (Gentlemen Understanding Destiny By Overcoming Your Statistics), which was supposed to be a mentoring and summer program, from his home.

Anyone with information on Brown’s whereabouts is asked to immediately call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Taji Brown, 29, is now being sought by police on the additional 26 warrants, which include 13 counts each of indecent liberties with a child and indecent liberties with a student.

Brown is a 5th-grade teacher at Billingsville Elementary School. Charlotte-Mecklenburg School officials told WBTV earlier in August that Brown, who has been with CMS since 2011, was currently suspended with pay.

According to a search warrant, Brown’s home along Pebble Creek Way was searched by police on August 7.

During a press conference the following afternoon, police said Brown had been arrested by the Mobile Enforcement Team and charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a child and two counts of indecent liberties with a student.

Investigators said they were aware of 7-8 juveniles who attended Brown’s summer camp but said they were working to learn if more boys took part in the camp.

According to warrants, an investigation into Brown began in late July when a 10-year-old boy told his mother that Brown inappropriately touched him in the shower while he was spending the night at Brown’s home.

Brown reportedly ran a program called “G.U.D.B.O.Y.S.” (Gentlemen Understanding Destiny By Overcoming Your Statistics), which was supposed to be a mentoring and summer program, from his home.

Anyone with information on Brown’s whereabouts is asked to immediately call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on August 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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