Charlotte homicide rate continues to rise, increase in teen suspects

Another life cut short Monday adds to the growing list of grim statistics in the Queen City. 

"It makes no sense," said Will Adams, whose 15-year-old son was killed from gun violence in 2008.

On Monday, Alysha Johnson, 17, was shot and killed in an attempted robbery. The suspects are aged 15, 16 and 17. 

GOFUNDME FOR ALYSHA JOHNSON

So far this year, there has been 56 homicides in the Queen City compared to 58 for all of last year. Of those, six teens between the ages of 14 and 17 have been charged with homicide this year, including three from Monday. 

"We're on record pace of breaking records of murders in Charlotte, and we don't want to break that record," he said.

In 2018, 13 teens aged 14 through 17 were charged with homicide. 

"It's going to take boots on the ground," said Adams. "It's going to take us to be more active in the communities."

For Adams, the numbers hit close to home. He says the last thing he remembers his son telling him was "Dad I want to go shoot pool."

"I wish I would have shot pool with him," Adams said. "Maybe he'd be alive."

Since then, he started the organization Team Trublue, which tries to steer teens out of trouble. He encourages water guns over hand guns. However, resources -- both time and money-- are scarce. He works a full-time job. 

He says police are "doing more than what they were doing" but wants them to be more active.

"Walk around through the community. Get to know the neighbors. Get to know the people in the community and stop policing everybody."

For its part, CMPD says the chief and district attorney's office have partnered to create projects aimed at at-risk youth. 

"It's always concerning whenever we see people this young both as our victims and as our suspects," said Lt. Bryan Crum. "It concerns us as an agency, as police officers, as people."

Both Crum and Adams say community members need to be more involved since police can't be everywhere at all times. 

"As an agency, there's only so much we can do, unfortunately," Crum said.

Crum doesn't know what is driving the increase in homicides. He says more often violence is being used to settle minor disputes. 

As for Adams, he won't stop trying to make a difference. He doesn't want to see another parent suffer like he has.

"We can't stop every violent act, but we're going to do our best."

By the numbers

The three teens charged in the murder of a 17-year-old girl along Beatties Ford Road this week is one of several recent instances connecting young people to murder. 

In March, a 17-year-old was one of three suspects in the murder of a woman who was shot in her car in north Charlotte. Last week, a 16-year-old was one of four people shot outside an apartment complex on Graham Street. 

RELATED: "Here we go again": CMPD frustrated by deadly violence between youth

FOX 46 requested numbers for homicides from CMPD and a break down of the age of young suspects. This is what we found:

Homicide suspects aged 14-17:

  • 2019 YTD: 6 (includes 3 from Monday)
  • 2018: 13
  • 2017: 4
  • 2016: 4

Charlotte homicides on the rise:

  • 2019 YTD: 56
  • 2018: 58
  • 2017: 86
  • 2016: 69

Adams is planning a "Day of Charlotte" community event to protest the rising violence. That will take place Aug. 18 at Freedom Park.