Charlotte is days away from the first anniversary of a mass shooting along Beatties Ford Road that claimed four lives, and while developments have emerged, no arrests have been made in what police call a “frustrating” case.
“I had already been announced as the next police chief, and then going on to be sworn in, this was one thing that I saw as a cloud,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said during a news conference Wednesday. “It was frustrating from the beginning early on.”
Around 12:30 a.m. on June 22, 2020, gunfire erupted during a block party in celebration of the Juneteenth holiday. Nearly 200 shots were fired in the 1800 block of Beatties Ford Road, near Catherine Simmons Avenue, police said. Four people died, at least 11 were injured and dozens were traumatized.
Even with community members coming forward over the past year, Jennings said “it’s frustrating” not being able to “put those final pieces of the puzzle together” to make any arrests.
CMPD continues to encourage community members to share information about the shooting, no matter how small, police Lt. Bryan Crum said.
“A lot of times when we have that many people present it’s sometimes challenging to get that critical piece of puzzle,” he said. “There’s so many small pieces that people may not realize how critical their part is in seeing the full picture.”
The last development announced came in November when CMPD released a minute-long video from the day of the shooting. Police asked for the public’s assistance in identifying two gunmen seen firing a pistol and semiautomatic rifle in the video.
“It’s a miracle we came out and with what we did and it wasn’t more traumatic than what’s occurred ... when you see the total disregard and recklessness for human life,” Jennings said in November.
Preparing for Juneteenth 2021
Police are aware of “several” Juneteenth events this weekend, and have “coordinated and collaborated” with the events’ organizers, Jennings said Wednesday.
“It’s so important to make sure that as we go into this weekend that we provide a safe environment for everyone that plans to attend and work these events,” he said.
Police will be “highly represented and highly visible,” particularly along Beatties Ford Road, Capt. Lucas Veith with CMPD’s Metro Division said.
“We will be there to ensure all activities are safe, and to encourage everyone to have a good time,” he said.
Jennings said those looking to commit crimes or disrupt festivities should “put that energy somewhere else” and try not to tarnish the holiday with illegal activity.
“There are plenty of events out there where they can go and celebrate,” he said.
Jennings said last year’s events were more spontaneous because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year’s celebrations will have more organized and coordinated events, which will allow CMPD to be more present and involved.