3 Dead, 11 Hurt After Shooting At Charlotte Block Party

Jun 22, 2020
Originally published on June 23, 2020 7:52 am

Updated 4:15 p.m.

Police say three people were killed and 11 others injured after a shooting at a block party in northwest Charlotte early Monday. Five of the people injured were hit by cars. 

Someone called 911 about 12:30 a.m. to report a car hit pedestrians in the 1800 block of Beatties Ford Road. As first responders got to the scene, they heard gunshots, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. They found a woman lying on the road, shot to death.

Eight other people had been shot, one of whom was rushed to a hospital but died. Police identified the two people who died as 29-year-old Kelly Miller and 28-year-old Christopher Antonio Gleaton. Later Monday, police announced 39-year-old Jamaa Keon Cassell had also died. 

According to a CMPD press release, investigators say there's evidence that several people fired dozens of shots into a crowd that gathered in the area. 

Another five people who soon arrived at local hospitals said they had been hit by cars that police say were likely fleeing from the scene of the shooting. As of 7:30 a.m. Monday, police hadn't released any information about what may have led to the violence. 

Deputy CMPD Chief Gerald Smith said late Monday morning that as many 100 rounds had been fired by different guns. He said police didn't open fire, though some had rifles out as they tried to "take control" of the scene.

Smith said as many as 400 people had gathered at the block party but that police weren't yet sure what led to the shooting.

"We're talking about 400 people in one spot and not one witness – we have not one," Smith said. "No one came up to us. We're still processing the scene, but it's not too late. If you really want to make a difference ... if you care about the victims, their families, their friends, then come forward." 

At one point, Smith said, firefighters had to be pulled out as they were helping an injured person.

"It was a very, very chaotic scene," Smith said. "There's just no other way to put it."

Smith said there was a Juneteenth party on Friday, but once it ended, people started gathering along the block. Crowds gathered Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. 

Kevin Nash was at the party. He said people were doing doughnuts and having fun celebrating Juneteenth before violence erupted. He was standing in front of a nearby restaurant when it happened. 

"Next thing you know, gunshots rang out," Nash said. "From the left to the right, front, back, they were just shooting everywhere for no reason. Literally witnessed this young girl lose her life right in front of me." 

Faniya Mcillwain was at the party Sunday night. She ran when the shooting started, leaving her shoes behind, and she came back Monday morning to retrieve them. 

"We were just all having a good time and somebody started shooting," Mcillwain said. "I don't know who. We just ran. Once I heard it, I took off. Everybody else took off." 

Charlotte City Council member Malcolm Graham was at the scene later Monday morning. 

"This is not who we are," Graham said. "This is not the commitments that businesses and neighborhood leaders want for our community. A lot of good has been done on the Beatties Ford Road corridor and last night does not define who we are as a community."

There have been 50 homicides reported in Charlotte this year, including three others since Sunday morning. Christopher Demarcus Washington, 33, was shot and killed Sunday morning in the 1100 block of Mona Drive, and 24-year-old Tavarus Lashon Taybron was shot and killed Sunday night in the 1300 block of Varsity Lane. Late Monday morning, police said another person had been killed near North Sharon Amity and Monroe roads in east Charlotte. 

According to the Gun Violence Archive, Monday's incident in Charlotte was the 219th mass shooting in the U.S. this year. The archive defines mass shootings as incidents when at least four people -- not including the shooter -- are wounded or killed by gunfire. 

Police are asking anyone with information that can help them to call 704-432-8477.

This is a developing story that will be updated. 

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