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5 Things To Know: CMPD Releases Footage of Juneteenth Beatties Ford Shooting

...and four more stories from Nov. 8-14, 2020

CMPD Releases Footage of Mass Shooting on Beatties Ford Road

Investigators released surveillance footage from the mass shootings that killed four during Juneteenth celebrations on Beatties Ford Road on June 22, while the local ATF office offered an additional $15,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest in the case. That puts the total possible reward now at $22,000. 

The video begins just before gunfire rings out offscreen, then shows two men hopping out of an SUV and opening fire, one with an AR-15-style rifle and the other with a handgun. At a press conference on Friday, CMPD Lt. Bryan Crum said investigators want to speak to the men in the video. He clarified that it is not known if their gunfire struck anyone and there are no pending charges against the unknown men. 

Crum said ballistic evidence from the more than 100 casings recovered from Beatties Ford Road following the shooting has led to the recovery of 10 guns that were proven to have been fired there that night. At the press conference, CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said investigators have pursued many leads, but are now at a point when they need the assistance of the community.

“When you watch the video … it’s a miracle that we came out with what we did and it wasn’t more traumatic than what’s occurred and more people weren’t killed in this tragic incident when you see the total disregard and recklessness for human life out there,” Jennings said. 

Jennings asked that anyone with information call CrimeStoppers at 704-334-1600. 

Four people were killed and 10 others injured in the shooting, which occurred at the intersection of Beatties Ford Road and Catherine Simmons Avenue just after midnight on June 22, surpassing the violence seen in the mass shooting on UNC Charlotte’s campus in 2019. Kelly Miller, 29; Christopher Gleaton, 28; Jamaa Cassell, 39; and Dairyon Stevenson, 31; were all killed in the gunfire, which started just after midnight as an ambulance arrived on the scene to respond to a hit-and-run that had occurred at the celebration.

Flash Flooding Kills 12 Statewide, Leads to Water Rescues in Charlotte

Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency on Friday after at least 12 people were killed in flooding that occurred throughout the state due to rains from Tropical Storm Eta, which crossed north Florida from the Gulf of Mexico and ran up the East Coast on Thursday. None of the fatalities occurred in Charlotte, though the deluge led to school evacuations, road closures and the flooding of multiple businesses throughout Mecklenburg County. 

During a joint press conference held by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office, CMPD and Charlotte Fire Department on Thursday afternoon, officials said flooding led to rescue efforts that took more than 170 people out of harm’s way, including the evacuation of 143 students and staff from Corvian Community School, which sits on the banks of Mallard Creek in north Charlotte’s University City.

The flooding also led to the closing of at least 63 roads and flooded businesses such as The Batch House bakery in west Charlotte, run by Cristina Rojas-Agurcia, aka “The Batchmaker.” In a Facebook post on Thursday, Rojas-Agurcia wrote to her customers, “I dont know how I bounce back from this, my baby. This sadness might break me … We have a long day of cleaning tomorrow … I love you so much and just the thought of being closed for a bit breaks me.”

On Friday, Rojas-Agurcia wrote another post thanking the many community members who showed up to help with the clean-up efforts: “Future looks a little shaky but im here ready to keep baking for you if youll have me.” You can help with Rojas-Agurcia’s efforts to reopen by donating to @TheBatchhouseTEAM on Venmo.

Community members helped clean out The Batch House after it fell victim to Thursday’s flooding. (Photo courtesy of Cristina Rojas-Agurcia)

Small Tweak to Phase 3 as COVID-19 Numbers Continue to Rise

Gov. Roy Cooper announced a small change to Phase 3 restrictions on Tuesday, decreasing the amount of people allowed to gather indoors from 25 to 10 in an attempt to curb the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. It’s unclear just how much effect the slight change will have, as it does not apply to churches, schools and other establishments. Queen City Nerve witnessed multiple Charlotte restaurants hosting well over 25 people for indoor dining on Friday night, when the updated executive order went into effect

(Graph courtesy of Mecklenburg County Public Health)

While statewide hospitalizations and test-positivity rates have remained “level but high,” both are on the rise in Mecklenburg County. According to the most recent data released by MCPH on Friday morning, there had been 37,527 positive cases of COVID-19 reported among Mecklenburg County residents and 413 deaths resulting from the coronavirus to that point. That’s an increase of 1,899 cases and 9 deaths since the same time last week. In-depth data for cases that occurred through Wednesday showed, on average, around 150 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 at any given day during the past week with an average 7.5% test-positivity rate — both stats trending up compared to the previous 14 days.

N.C. Chief Justice Race Remains Neck-and-Neck

As the last remaining counties in North Carolina finish up counting mail-in ballots, incumbent N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has just a 35-vote lead over challenger Paul Newby, putting both candidates at 50.00% of the counted vote with five counties left to report absentee ballot counts. Those counties are Craven, Duplin, Robeson, Rockingham and Sampson.

N.C. election results
N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice held on to just a 35-vote lead going into the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Beasley campaign)

All remaining counties tend to lean right quite consistently, so Beasley’s lead is far from safe. North Carolina allows for a candidate to ask for a recount if the vote differential is under 10,000 or a .5% margin. No more counties are expected to announce final results over the weekend. 

Homicide Total Hits 103

There has been one murder in Charlotte since the publication of our last News Roundup, bringing the total homicide count in Charlotte this year to 103. 

Just before 8:20 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, police responded to a shots-fired call on North Tryon Street near Tom Hunter Road in north Charlotte and found 16-year-old Ruben Contreras lying on the ground, dead of a gunshot wound. No arrests have yet been made in the case. According to a WCNC report, Contreras had been a mentee with local youth program Heal Charlotte for three years. “He was a bright kid—very smart, “Heal Charlotte founder Greg Jackson told WCNC. “He liked to have fun, he was a prankster.”

Ruben Contreras

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