Triple Homicide Discovered in Huntersville
Officers with the Huntersville Police Department on Friday announced the end of a three-day investigation that led to the discovery of a triple homicide and the body of a man suspected of killing the first three victims before turning the gun on himself. All of the deaths occurred within one mobile-home community in Huntersville.
HPD officials held a press conference on Friday, telling reporters that the investigation began with a call to assist MEDIC on Caldwell Station Road just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Responding officers found 58-year-old Michael Elliot dead from multiple gunshot wounds. On Wednesday, investigators found a second body, that of 26-year-old Kendrick Knight, in a wooded area nearby. Knight had been shot and stabbed.
On Thursday, investigators found 41-year-old Philip Jewell dead of a gunshot wound in his home in the same community. They also found 21-year-old Michael Matocha, suspected in all three of the previous murders, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
During Friday’s press conference, HPD representatives stood by the decision not to notify the public until after the suspect was found dead, adding that detectives believe all four died on Tuesday and insisting the public was not in danger during the investigation. Investigators believe Matocha was friends with Knight, and may not have known the other two victims. As of Friday, police were not aware of a motive for what was Huntersville’s first ever triple homicide.
Dodson Memo Shows Rift in City Manager’s Office Over Comp Plan
While city council members have long been at odds over the upcoming vote on the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, specifically over language that would allow for duplexes and triplexes in neighborhoods zoned for single-family housing, reports surfaced Wednesday that there’s now a rift within the city manager’s office, which was until then believed to be unified in support of the plan.
In a memo from assistant city manager Tracy Dodson to fellow assistant city manager and Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba, first reported on by Axios Charlotte’s Katie Peralta, Dodson calls for the elimination of all references to community benefits agreements in the plan, and suggests doing away with the entire policy around single-family zoning, asking that council put that debate off for the unified development ordinance that city staff is currently working on.
In response to news about the memo, Planning Commission Chair Sam Spencer fired back with a Medium post on Wednesday, stating that Dodson was being “brazenly dismissive of equity as a policy goal.” Charlotte City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 7, with the Charlotte Future Comprehensive Plan one of only two things planned on the agenda for the night.
Vaccines Moving Slow in Mecklenburg
As the rate of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County begins to slow, the demographics of who is and isn’t getting vaccinated remain disproportionate to the population as a whole.
Mecklenburg County Public Health reported on Friday that 46% of the total population of Mecklenburg County (510,420 residents; a 1% increase) had been at least partially vaccinated as of Wednesday, while 40.7% of Mecklenburg County’s total population (452,118 residents, also a 1% increase) have been fully vaccinated. Of those who have been at least partially vaccinated, just 21.8% are Black or African American, despite making up 33.9% of the total county population.
According to the latest data from MCPH, released Friday morning, there had been 113,170 total cases of COVID-19 and 975 deaths related to the coronavirus in the county to that point, an increase of 462 cases and one death since the same time last week.
According to more in-depth data for cases that had occurred through Wednesday, the county had seen a 3% test-positivity rate over the previous week, a stable trend compared to the previous two weeks, and an average of 55 laboratory confirmed infections per day, a decreasing trend. On average, 76 people were hospitalized on any given day due to COVID-19 over the past week, also a decreasing trend.
Mecklenburg County to Break All Ties with Cardinal Innovations
At its Tuesday meeting, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously voted with one abstention to disengage from Cardinal Innovations and realign with Alliance Health to provide behavioral health services and treatment for residents.
The BOCC voted unanimously in November to allow County Manager Dena Diorio to begin the disengagement process that would be needed to sever ties with Cardinal Innovations, which oversaw behavioral-health treatment in Mecklenburg County since 2014. The split has been a long time in the making, and became readily apparent in February 2020 when commissioners openly accused Cardinal of providing inadequate access to services and mishandling the emergency placement of neglected or abandoned children.
BOCC on Tuesday authorized the County Manager to issue a letter of intent, develop a Disengagement Realignment Plan, and notify the affected counties within the organizations’ catchment areas. The realignment plan was published on Wednesday, and residents are able to provide feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alliance Health currently serves Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties.
“Mecklenburg County representatives have had productive discussions and engagement with Alliance Health, an LME/MCO in good standing with NCDHHS,” read a statement from the county on Wednesday. “Alliance is committed to its mission of ‘improving the health and well-being of the people they serve by ensuring highly effective, community-based support and care.’ Alliance’s values of accountability, integrity, collaboration, compassion, dignity, respect, and innovation align with the mission, vision, and values of Mecklenburg County.”
Two Women Among Murder Victims This Week
Two women were among the three homicides to occur in Charlotte since our last Weekly News Roundup, bringing the total number of illegal killings in the city this year to 44.
Shortly after 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 29, officers responded to a welfare check call on Biscayne Drive near Eastway Middle School in east Charlotte and found the body of 29-year-old Ashly Marquez. Homicide detectives responded to the scene and determined foul play was involved. Following an investigation that involved the Concord Police Department and arson detectives, among others, Marquez’s boyfriend, 30-year-old Kennard Brantley, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and concealing a death. A second man, 31, was also arrested and charged with accessory after a murder and concealing a death.
Just before 12:30 a.m. on Monday morning, police responded to a shooting call on Twin Brook Drive in north Charlotte and found 21-year-old Sherlyn Drew dead of a gunshot wound. No arrests have yet been made in the murder.
A man was charged with second-degree murder after his attempted getaway following a robbery in northwest Charlotte ended in the tragic death of an innocent man. According to CMPD, patrol officers witnessed 30-year-old Holmes driving erratically as he fled a Family Dollar on Beatties Ford Road around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, and soon found out from employees that he had just robbed the store at gunpoint.
Police say Holmes was headed toward the city on Beatties Ford Road, weaving in and out of traffic, when he lost control and struck a bus stop enclosure in which a man had been sitting. MEDIC transported 57-year-old Henry Miller to the hospital, where he later died. Holmes, who was arrested after a short foot chase following the crash, has been charged with armed robbery, misdemeanor hit and run, reckless driving, driving while impaired, felony death by vehicle, felony hit and run, and second-degree murder. Henry Miller’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.
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