CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has made nine arrests and seized seven guns since launching a task force focused on shootings into occupied dwellings.
CMPD has investigated 305 such shootings since January, with more than half of these cases occurring in the Freedom, Metro and North divisions, according to Sgt. Stephen Fischbach.
Police logged 60 fired shell casings at a crime scene July 4 in the Jordan’s Pond neighborhood.
Public Affair Director Rob Tufano recalled two instances in which officers rushed to homes save children’s lives from stray bullets. One involved a 6-year-old girl struck while riding a bicycle outside her home. The other was a 12-year-old boy listening to music in his bedroom.
“As troubling as it is, it’s even more troubling when we don’t get the level of cooperation needed to resolve some of these,” Tufano said.
Some victims tend to focus more on taking cover than writing down descriptions of suspects or vehicles, while others are unwilling to cooperate with investigations because they are afraid.
To help more people come forward, Crime Stoppers has doubled rewards to $2,000 for information that leads to an arrest in these shootings. People can anonymously report tips to Crime Stoppers by calling 704-334-1600.
CMPD’s task force consists of detectives from each division, as well as staff in the gang, homicide and crime reduction units. They partner with the district attorney’s office and crime lab.
They use intelligence gathered from investigations to identify and target people whose criminal behavior contribute to the problem, Fischbach said.
“What’s driving a lot of this are problems between individuals that could be as minor as an insult on social media that leads to a physical fight at school that escalates to one shooting that turns into retaliatory shooting,” Fischbach said. “I wish I had better reasons. A lot of this stuff really surprises me as far as the root cause of this.”
An overwhelming number of people involved in these shootings range in age from 14 to their early 20s, he said.
Fischbach recommends parents teach their children how to resolve conflict appropriately and become aware of what they’re doing at school or on social media.