CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The shooting death of an elementary school teacher in Charlotte's popular South End neighborhood remains unsolved, more than one year later.
On September 9, 2016 around 11:30 p.m., Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say 33-year old Ruijuan Guo was shot inside a parking garage, located on the 100 block of East Park Avenue (behind the former Carrabas restaurant).
In police reports taken the night of the shooting, Guo's boyfriend told police they were walking to their car when they were approached by a man with a gun, who demanded money. The boyfriend told police that when he didn't get his wallet out fast enough, the robber shot Guo.
Police say Guo was transported to the hospital, but passed away five days later on September 14th.
CMPD says the case is still open and the investigation is ongoing, but so far no arrests have been made.
"My hope is just you know, that answers will be given to the questions that are out there," said Dr. Rachel Clarke, principal of Kensington Elementary School, where Guo was a teacher.
"You know usually when a teacher leaves a school, there’s some closure, and there wasn’t any with this," said Dr. Clarke.
But while the community waits on answers, Dr. Clarke says she's been keeping her students focused on the positive memories of Miss Guo. She says Guo was instrumental in developing the school's mandarin language immersion program and so was popular among many.
"Her presence is still felt with the students. You know even before we were getting to the anniversary of her passing we were having students ask about it," said Dr. Clarke.
So to help make the anniversary of Miss Guo’s passing meaningful, Dr. Clarke decided to have the students construct a sunflower mural. Sunflowers we're Miss Guo's favorite flower.
One by one, students were each able to put their stamp on the mural. Dr. Clarke says she plans to frame it and hang it in a permanent spot inside the school.
"We want to remember her with joy," said Dr. Clarke.
Also at the school stands a small, but thriving tree near the playground, planted in Guo's memory last year after her passing. Dr. Clarke says parents are currently working to order benches, which will be placed beneath the tree.
Dr. Clarke says the area will serve as a permanent memorial garden.