Dad suspected in robbery dies after exchanging gunfire with police. Family asks why.

Kevin Boston’s family says the Charlotte father was at a Food Lion to get food for his children Sunday afternoon. Police say he robbed the store and later shot a gun at officers, who returned fire and struck him.

Boston, 45, died at a hospital around 4:38 p.m. Sunday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in a news release Monday.

At a news conference at Marshall Park on Monday, members of Boston’s family said they weren’t notified of his death, and police had not reached out to them. A CMPD spokesperson told The Charlotte Observer that the department notified the family on Sunday.

In this undated photo, Kevin Boston stands with his three children. Boston, a 45-year-old single father, was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers Sunday, June 26, 2022. Police say Boston, a suspect in an armed robbery, fired a gun at officers.
In this undated photo, Kevin Boston stands with his three children. Boston, a 45-year-old single father, was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers Sunday, June 26, 2022. Police say Boston, a suspect in an armed robbery, fired a gun at officers.

Officers arrived at the grocery store on Tuckaseegee Road in west Charlotte just before 1 p.m. Sunday to investigate a report of an armed robbery. Using a description of a suspect and “items noted on the call,” officers found Boston nearby, according to a CMPD news release.

“The suspect discharged a firearm multiple times at officers, striking at least one patrol vehicle,” the release said. “At that point, officers returned fire and struck the suspect.”

Boston was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries and died Sunday afternoon, police said Monday.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is examining the shooting, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, CMPD said. The names of the officers involved in the shooting have not been released.

Kevin Boston’s family reacts

Affectionately known as “KK” by his family, Boston was a single father of three children, ages 13, 14 and 18. Mario Black, his cousin, and Billie Black, Boston’s sister-in-law, say he was a family man.

Boston was loving, and a jokester who loved to cook for everybody, Billie Black said at Marshall Park. He was always taking his kids, nieces and nephews to the park, she said.

She called Boston’s death heartbreaking and crushing, not just for his children, but for the rest of his family.

“He has family, he has cousins, he was born and raised here,” she said.

Billie Black said police had not reached out to Boston’s family.

CMPD posted tweets about the shooting on Sunday but did not name a suspect until Monday. Amanda Aycock, a police spokesperson, told the Observer that “next of kin” were notified Sunday, but she declined to say who was notified and how.

Typically, a representative from CMPD’s Victims Services Unit handles such notifications, Aycock said. An investigating detective and the SBI also could notify families.

Boston struggled with mental health issues and has had interactions with CMPD, his family said.

Boston’s family said they want to know what led to the shooting and have doubts about CMPD’s account.

“Honestly, they shot him down like he was a dog,” Billie Black told reporters.

Billie and Mario Black called for communication from CMPD and that video from police body-worn and dash cameras be released.

In North Carolina, only a judge can approve the release of police body-cam footage.

Mario Black says his mission is to obtain footage from police of what happened to his cousin.

“I want the footage out of Food Lion, I want it all because then we can piece together and figure out those moments of what happened, what could we have done differently? What could CMPD have done differently to ensure that it wasn’t death,” Billie Black said.

Boston’s body remains with the coroner’s office and plans for services are pending, Billie Black said.

Police shootings in Charlotte

Sunday’s shooting is at least the third involving CMPD officers this year. Boston is the first to die in a CMPD shooting this year:

On March 9, shots were fired a driver tried to run over a CMPD officer with a car at a hotel on Nations Ford Road. The car had been reported stolen. Police arrested Carneal Robinson, 34, of Charlotte and charged him with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and possession of a stolen vehicle. However, because no one was hit, the SBI is not investigating the shooting.

On April 6, a CMPD officer shot and injured an unidentified person at an apartment complex on Ollie Drive. Little information has been released about the shooting or what led to it. The identity of the wounded person was not released. A gun was recovered, police said in a tweet.

Last year, CMPD officers shot and killed two people in five officer-involved shootings.

On Thursday, a man fired at officers from inside a home on on the 5800 block of Hunting Ridge Lane in east Charlotte. The shots prompted police to bring in a SWAT team and mental health crisis experts. Police say the man was in a crisis and later was hospitalized. Officers successfully deescalated the situation without shooting back, CMPD said.

Police Chief Johnny Jennings, in a series of tweets Monday, said he was “proud of the professionalism” his officers showed in the two most recent shootings.

“In these situations, officers must make split-second decisions to preserve their lives as well as citizens,” Jennings said.

In November 2019, CMPD revised its use of force policy, which governs when and how officers are allowed to use their weapons. The department banned drawing and pointing a gun at someone unless the officer “reasonably believes that deadly force may become necessary.”