US Marshal Kills Frankie Jennings, CMPD To Investigate
Family members, community organizers and residents gathered in northeast Charlotte on Tuesday evening hours after a 32-year-old man was shot and killed by U.S. Marshals in the parking lot of a Citgo at the intersection of The Plaza and Parkwood Avenue. Just before noon that morning, Marshals with the Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force tried to serve warrants on Frankie Jennings when one of them “perceived a lethal threat” and fired on him.
There aren’t many details available as of this writing, other than that CMPD has stated they will take over the investigation. In a release on Tuesday, CMPD stated that no officers with their department were present during the incident. The release also said “a gun was recovered from the scene,” though it’s unclear what role that played, if any, in the officer’s actions.
At the vigil held by Jennings’ family and local organizers on Tuesday night, local NAACP leader Corinne Mack called for the release of footage from multiple surveillance cameras in and around the parking lot. She also stated she wanted to use this tragedy as an opportunity to lobby for all U.S. Marshals to wear body cameras.
Frankie Jennings was killed on his 32nd birthday, and some of his family was in town Tuesday for that reason, including his nephew, who turned 13 the same day. The crowd of around 90 people sang “Happy Birthday” to them both at Tuesday night’s vigil. Frankie’s sister, Latannya Jennings, who was in town from New York for his birthday, pleaded with the many media outlets attending the vigil on Tuesday not to rush to judgment in painting her brother as a criminal.
“He’s a man, he’s a father, he’s a son, he’s an uncle, he’s a cousin, he’s a friend. Most of all, he’s a human, like all of us,” she said. “We all bleed the same blood. We all got one life, and the person that takes it from us should not be the blue-and-whites [police], it should not be the U.S. Marshals; the only person who has that say-so is the man upstairs.”
Atrium Health Announces Location of Medical School
Nearly six months after announcing their merger with Wake Forest Baptist Health and plans to build the second campus of the Wake Forest Medical School in Charlotte, Atrium Health announced more details about the city’s first four-year medical school, including its location: a 20-acre site in midtown Charlotte at the corner of South McDowell and Baxter streets.
“Through our partnership with Wake Forest School of Medicine, today we fulfill a long-held desire for Charlotte to have a four-year medical school that will usher in a brand-new era of health-care education, innovation and social impact,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health, in a release on Wednesday. “The significant investments we are making will not only enrich countless lives as we train the next generation of top-tier clinicians but will also be a pivotal economic driver that will propel us forward as we emerge from the pandemic, stronger than ever.”
The campus will be located less than three-quarters of a mile from Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center on Kings Drive. The campus of the health system’s flagship hospital is currently undergoing an extensive renovation, ensuring the school of medicine students will have access to the most modern, state-of-the-art facilities and technology in all of their learning environments, according to the release.
Woods also announced Atrium Health has established the Bishop George E. Battle Jr. Scholarship Fund to support the continuing education of those who live in underserved communities. Bishop Battle is a community advocate for the Biddleville-Five Points area of west Charlotte, among other places, and also served 17 years as a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. A lifelong advocate for the economically disadvantaged, Bishop Battle has received more than 100 awards and honors during his career, including the Long Leaf Pine Award, the highest award bestowed by the state of North Carolina.
Through an initial seeding of $5 million, the fund will benefit students pursuing a degree in health sciences at any Atrium Health-affiliated college or university. Atrium will engage the community to match the initial $5 million in hopes to create a $10 million fund by the time the first students are seated at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Charlotte in 2024.
Catawba Nation To Fast-Track Opening of Two Kings Casino
Days after the federal government approved a revenue-sharing agreement between the Catawba Indian Nation and the state of North Carolina, the Nation announced this week it will fast-track the opening of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort by opening a “pre-launch” facility this summer with 500 slot machines in Kings Mountain, about a 45-minute drive from the center of Charlotte.
The Catawba Nation, the only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina, expects to open the full casino on Dixon School Road sometime in 2022, possibly in spring or summer. The 16-acre, $273 million casino complex is expected to create 5,000 construction jobs and generate $300 million of annual economic activity.
COVID Surpasses 100,000 Cases in Mecklenburg County
According to the most recent data released by Mecklenburg County Public Health on Friday, there had been 100,969 total cases of COVID-19 and 910 deaths related to the coronavirus in the county to that point, an increase of 1,502 cases and seven deaths since the same time last week.
According to more in-depth data for cases that had occurred through Wednesday, the county had seen a 6.5% test-positivity rate over the previous week, an increasing trend. An average of 113 people were hospitalized on any given day COVID-19 over the past week, a decreasing trend over the previous 14 days. On Friday night, Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest COVID-19 executive order went into effect, ending the 11 p.m. cutoff for on-site alcohol sales and allowing many businesses to open at full or near-full capacity.
Two Murders Make 18 in Charlotte This Year
Two men were shot and killed in separate incidents in Charlotte this week, bringing the total number of illegal killings in the city this year to 18.
At around 12:50 p.m. on Monday, police responded to a shooting call on Tuckaseegee Road near Tuckaseegee Park in west Charlotte and found 26-year-old William Perry dead of a gunshot wound. Though it is believed that the shooting occurred in a car on Tuckaseegee Road, multiple witnesses told police on the scene that the suspect had fled into the nearby Nova Ridge apartment complex, formerly Lake Arbor. CMPD deployed a SWAT team to the location, but the suspect was not found.
Just before 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, police responded to a shooting call at a convenience store parking lot on Beatties Ford Road in the Northwood neighborhood area just north of the I-85 interchange and found 21-year-old Davyon Farrer dead of a gunshot wound. On Friday, police announced they had arrested and charged a 36-year-old man for Farrer’s murder. Farrer’s uncle, Cinquay Farrer, was killed just feet from the same location three days before Christmas in 2020. Farrer’s mother has launched a GoFundMe to help with funeral costs.
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