Gang Members Called Good Kids Who Fell into Wrong Crowd

by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Michelle:

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Friends and neighbors say three men charged in a gang shooting that left an innocent high schooler in the hospital, were all good kids who fell in with the wrong crowd.

“I want to get through to him and get him to not do this anymore,” Carrie Stroud tells NewsChannel 36.

The 17-year-old calls 19-year-old Gabriel Cisneros her best friend.

“We grew up together, we played soccer in our front yard. My mom is like his mom, we do our homework together, he’s like a brother to me,” Stroud says.

But she’s also worried he’s a lost cause after she says he fell into the wrong crowd in high school.
“We tried to get him out of it…he just didn’t listen to anybody. He thought he was bigger than everybody, knew everything,” says Stroud.

Cisneros is a known MS-13 gang member and has been in and out of jail.

Stroud knows all the details.

She says he calls from jail every time he’s arrested.

“At one point he was stealing cars,” she says.

He’s one of three charged after a gang fight ended with an innocent high school student shot in the leg.

Cisneros’ good friend, 18-year-old Jonathan Reyes, was also arrested, as was 20-year-old Daniel Jiminez.

Stroud says she was actually hanging out with Cisneros just before he apparently left to fight a rival gang.

“I  don’t understand it at all,” says Stroud.

But she’s not surprised.

Police say MS-13 is among the biggest gangs in Charlotte, and often kids fall into it, the way Stroud says her friend did.

“It’s his fault, it’s his stupidity. It sucks for him and his family, and us and our neighbors, cause everybody liked him. He was a good person,” says Stroud.

But someone she’s quickly losing faith in.

“We kind of don’t expect anything more of him. He keeps doing the wrong thing. We figure he’s not gonna change and this showed us that he’s really not going to,” says Stroud.
CMPD’s gang unit says there are about 35 active gangs in Charlotte, most with national ties.

There are also a handful of local gangs with just a few members.

That amounts to about a thousand active gang members in the Queen City.

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

13-Year-Old Robbed in the Movies by 9 and 14-Year-Old

by GLENN COUNTS / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Glenn:

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– It’s a crime that will shock almost anyone. Police say a 9-year-old and a 14-year-old robbed another child at a local movie theater.

Police say it happened on Thursday.

A 13-year-old went to the AMC 22 off South Blvd. to see Alvin and the Chipmunks 2– The Squeakuel.

Police say during the movie a 9 and 14-year-old robbed the victim inside a crowded theater by wrapping a belt around the neck of the 13-year-old victim and then moved him outside.

“Didn’t choke the child, but did escort him outside the actual theater itself, and took money from him and a cell phone,” says Captain Allan Rutledge of CMPD’s Steele Creek division.

“You would have thought with all the people standing in the theater somebody would have seen or heard something,” says Richard Cousins, a moviegoer.

Investigators say the theatres security camera system caught the two suspects, not in the act, but as they were leaving out a back hallway.

“It’s extremely unusual, we don’t experience this type of crime often,” says Captain Rutledge.

Police say the teen was not harmed but was quite shaken up.

This incident has scared parents into thinking about not dropping their kids off at the theater.

“Not by herself or just drop them off with a group of girls, no,” says Mayra Cousins, a parent.

The teen is from Rock Hill and went to the theater with his parents.

Police say the parents went into one theater and the teen went into another.

Although he was shaken up, the victim went to school on Friday.

The suspects are still on the loose.

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Teen Injured in Road Rage Shooting

by DIANA RUGG / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Diana:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An apparent episode of road rage in south Charlotte ended with five teenagers in custody and another teen injured.

 Police say a teenager driving a Ford Focus got into an argument with a group of teenagers in a Ford Explorer on Fairview Road near Carmel Road.
The fight escalated, and the first teen, who has not been identified by police, confronted the five teenagers in the SUV, officers said. 
“He actually got out of the car because he saw the driver of the other vehicle with a gun,” said Sgt. Bob Cooke of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept.  Cooke said the gun looked “like an AK-47.”   During the confrontation, said Cooke, the gun fired and injured the first teen.
Police aren’t sure if the teen was injured by gunfire or glass from the SUV’s window that shattered during the fight.  The injuries don’t appear to be life-threatening.
That teen drove himself home and called police, but not before asking another driver for help.
“The gentleman who was shot pulled up beside of us and asked us to call 911 and follow the vehicle,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.  “And that’s what we did.”
The woman kept police informed of her location while she followed the SUV to a neighborhood off Rea Road.  Police caught up with the SUV when it stopped at a dead end on Willowbrae Road.   Officers took the five teens — four boys and a girl they described as “high school age” — into custody.
“The police went up there and grabbed them and pulled them out,” said Todd Menzel, who lives nearby.  “It was crazy, something that I haven’t seen here.”
Police praised the woman’s efforts to lead officers to the teens, though they don’t advise people to put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
They also had a few words for the teenage victim’s actions following the initial confrontation.
“It didn’t need to go any further than that. The gun didn’t need to be drawn, and certainly the victim didn’t need to get out and confront the suspect, who had a gun in his possession,” said Sgt. Cooke.  “That was not a smart thing to do.”

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police: Robbery Victim Shoots, Wounds Suspect

by NewsChannel 36 Staff

Posted on March 12, 2010 at 4:40 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C.— Police say an attempted-robbery suspect is recovering after his intended victim pulled a gun and shot him in the neck Thursday night.

The incident happened just before 10 p.m. in a common area of an apartment complex on Shamrock Drive near Eastway Drive.
Police say they located the suspect staggering through the parking lot after receiving several 911 calls about shots being fired. He was taken to Carolinas Medical Center-Main and is expected to be ok. His name has not been released.
The shooter is one of the people who dialed 911 and is cooperating with investigators, according to police.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Thieves Fed Dogs to Get Into House

by BETH SHAYNE / NewsChannel 36

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nearly every house on their block of Rockwood Road has been burglarized since Thanksgiving, and neighbors hardly know what to do anymore.

Thursday, it was the St. Hillaire’s home with a huge hole in a back window. A computer, some cash, and several gaming consoles were gone. Their dogs, to their surprise, were home, happy, and full.

It seems the thief or thieves fed them to keep them occupied while cleaning house. “We came home and the first thing that we saw was this red water bowl or food bowl in the hallway,” Dan St. Hillaire told NewsChannel 36. “As you can see they threw an object through the window, raised it up, and from there the house was theirs. It shouldn’t have been because of the dogs.”

Between the two of them, Sam–a Rottweiler-German Shepherd mix–and Kineo–a Labrador-Weimaraner combo, weigh about 160 pounds.

CMPD’s computer monitoring of crime shows 9 break-ins within 1000 feet of the St. Hillaire’s home since December 2009. (That does not include the burglary at their home.) Their next door neighbors’ home has been hit 3 times. Another neighbor across the street tells us he has been robbed twice

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 3:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Mother Fights Off Would-Be Kidnapper On Charlotte Sidewalk

Posted: 9:57 pm EST March 11,2010Updated: 10:31 pm EST March 11,2010


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A mother on her way to pick up her son at school said a man tried to kidnap her while she was walking along a busy road in east Charlotte neighborhood.  The 35-year-old woman told Channel 9 Eyewitness News she’s afraid to go outside after the incident on Wednesday.

 The victim said she was walking along Norland Road just off Central Avenue when a man walked up to her and offered her a ride.

 The woman said she told the man, “No,” but he continued following her for a few minutes.

 The man grabbed her by the arm, covered her mouth, and tried to drag her away, the woman said.

 She fought him off, ran away, and called police.

 Officers took surveillance video from a nearby business, Eyewitness News learned.

 “She want them to catch them so he cannot be doing that again to other people,” said her daughter who translated for her Spanish-speaking mother.

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 3:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Three Men Charged in Gang-Related Shooting of East Meck Student


Mar 11, 2010 | 1:35:13

 CHARLOTTE – Three men have been charged with Wednesday’s shooting of an East Meck student, which detectives said was gang-related.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested Jonathan Reyes, 17; Gabriel Cisneros, 19, and Daniel Jiminez, 20, on assault charges.

Jonathan Reyes, 

Reyes, 17       Cisneros, 19    Jiminez, 20          


     “This incident does appear to have stemmed from apparent gang activity,” Capt. Paul Zinkann said in a statement.

Police, however, did not say whether any of the three suspects was the person who shot the East Meck student as she was walking home Wednesday afternoon.

The wounded student, a 15-year-old sophomore, passed a group of men brawling in the parking lot of a BJ’s Wholesale Club at Conference Drive and Independence Boulevard.

One of the men got a gun from a car and fired at the pack, but instead hit the East Meck student in the leg.

“Those kids were ruthless,” witness Victor Willis told WBTV.

The student was released from Carolinas Medical Center Wednesday.

Jail records said Reyes was arrested less than a month ago for disorderly conduct. He spent less than seven hours in the Mecklenburg County Jail before being released on bond.

Reyes’ arrest record includes a December 2008 possession of a stolen vehicle charge, and a May 2009 assault and battery.

The Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office have placed an immigration hold on Reyes, whose bond was set at $55,000.

Cisneros, who was being held on a $90,000 bond, had a much longer rap-sheet, mostly vehicle larceny charges.

He was released from the Mecklenburg County Jail in early February after serving less than three months on a stolen vehicle charge.

State inmate records said Cisneros, who goes by the nickname “Smiley,” spent roughly five months at the Western Youth Institution in Morganton in 2009 for a vehicle larceny conviction. He was released on probation in August.

There were no local or state records indicating Jiminez had a criminal record in North Carolina.

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police Search for Gunman in East Charlotte Shooting

by NewsChannel 36 Staff

Posted on March 9, 2010 at 5:00 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Officers are searching for the man who shot a man in east Charlotte Tuesday afternoon.

The shooting happened behind Advance Auto Parts on Barrington Drive.
The shooting happened in a wooded area behind Advance Auto Parts on Barrington Drive in the Oak Forest neighborhood.

 The victim told police that he knows the suspect. The man was last seen running toward Sharon Amity Road.

The victim was taken to Carolinas Medical Center.

Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

License plate thieves may be after registration stickers

by BETH SHAYNE / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Beth:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Traditionally, thieves steal license plates to help them mask a car they stole as well.

A change to North Carolina’s system of vehicle registration may give them a far pettier reason — getting out of going to the DMV.

“People take them, and then they peel the stickers off them later on to use on their own car that they haven’t paid their taxes on, or they haven’t gotten them inspected or gotten registration properly,” said Sgt. Jim Morrison with the University City division of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. “It makes the tag look like it’s legit even though that car is not.”

Morrison has seen a very slight uptick in license plate thefts in his patrol area this year. It corresponds, he says, with the timing of North Carolina’s transition to a new system of vehicle registration that relies more heavily on the sticker on your license plate.

“I just want to get ahead of it,” he said.

He suggests the simple fix of installing tamper-proof screws on your license plate cover. They are screwed in with an Allen wrench that’s packaged with the screws, as opposed to a standard screwdriver. That means thieves are less likely to be able to remove them.

Morrison also suggests protecting the sticker on your tag by using an Exacto knife to cut a small cross into the sticker. It makes the sticker more difficult to remove whole.

Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police Identify East Charlotte Murder Victim

By Ely Portillo
Posted: Monday, Mar. 08, 2010


Ramon Fernandez, suspect in shooting death

 Charlotte-Mecklenburg police identified a man killed last week after an argument with his roommate as a 29-year-old from Guatemala.

 Investigators say Victor Hugo Mazariegos was shot and killed Thursday night in his apartment at 6424 The Plaza. His identity was not released sooner because his family lives in Guatemala and wasn’t notified until Monday morning, police said.

 Ramon Fernandez, 23, is charged with his killing. Police are still searching for him and say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

 Anyone with information is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and ask to speak with a homicide detective, or to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on March 8, 2010 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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