Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are stepping up patrols around the city after a spike in violence over Labor Day weekend.
At a news conference Sunday morning, CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said 11 people had been shot over the weekend so far, including five fatally. He said he couldn’t think of a similar rash of violence in recent memory.
There was an additional shooting Sunday night that injured one person, police said.
The department is calling in officers from their regular days off and from vacation to step up patrols in all divisions, Estes said. Officers in special units such as gangs and firearms are also being brought in.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg has joined other areas around the country in reporting a sharp rise in homicides in 2015. This year, police have investigated 43 homicides. At this point last year, police had investigated 26.
Last year, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department investigated 42 homicides, the lowest total since police began keeping track of uniform crime statistics in 1977. More than 30 cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ago, the New York Times reported last week.
Police will be targeting street-level violence and illegal firearms, especially high-powered, high-capacity rifles, Estes said. Police received reports of a person with a high-powered rifle in the area of one of the shootings in southwest Charlotte on Saturday evening, he said.
“We are asking for the community’s help in solving these crimes and preventing them from happening for the rest of the weekend and here on out,” Estes said at police headquarters in uptown. “We think it’s an absolute tragedy in Charlotte-Mecklenburg seeing this type of violence.”
Police will have a presence at Labor Day parades Monday in Grier Heights and uptown, but not more than usual, Estes said. Those events don’t “correlate” to the neighborhood-level violence the department has been seeing, he said.
Birthday party shooting
Estes said police were in the early stages of investigating the fatal shootings, which occurred at six different locations around Charlotte from Saturday morning to Sunday morning. Police are looking into any possible connections between the incidents, he said.
Among the homicides, police are investigating the fatal shooting of Kevin Antonio Calderon Rodas, 7, at a birthday party at a home in the 6800 block of Fieldvale Place in southwest Charlotte on Saturday evening. Police responded to calls about multiple shots fired shortly before 9 p.m.
Two other adults and a victim of elementary school age were also found at the scene suffering from injuries that were not life-threatening. They were treated by Medic on the scene, police said.
While police were investigating that crime, a call came in at 12:13 a.m. about another shooting nearby. Police investigating the Fieldvale Place incident heard the shots and responded to the 500 block of Echodale Drive, where they found two adults who had been shot.
Laquanta Franchez Young, 30, was later pronounced dead at Carolinas Medical Center. A man – identified as Gregory Burns by his mother – suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.
Here are details on the other shootings over the weekend:
▪ At 4:44 a.m. Saturday, police received a call that a man with a gunshot wound had been dropped off at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. James Taylor, 23, was later pronounced dead.
The 911 caller indicated that the shooting occurred near the 1800 block of North Hoskins Road in northwest Charlotte, police said. When they located the original crime scene later that morning, police found Dominique Wheeler, 25, dead of a gunshot wound.
▪ On Sunday morning, police responded to a call from the 1100 block of Glenfiddich Drive in east Charlotte where they found Elias Izagirre Perez, 30, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
▪ A man was shot early Sunday in an area near South Boulevard and Interstate 485, possibly during a robbery, and went to the AMC movie theater looking for help. The injuries were not life-threatening, police said.
▪ On Sunday night, one person was shot in west Charlotte and taken to the hospital, according to WBTV, the Observer’s news partner.
There was heavy police presence on Effingham Road about 9 p.m., after reports of gunfire, the station reported.
One person was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with serious injuries, according to Medic, WBTV reported.