CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Police are working around the clock throughout the weekend to find whoever shot at least half a dozen random targets in the Hickory Grove area in eastern Charlotte Friday.
“It's very, very dangerous,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Chuck Henson. “These people are obviously armed and dangerous.”
Capt. Henson said police don’t know a motive for the shootings, and the victims appear to be picked at random.
He said CMPD got the first calls within minutes Friday morning, around 9:30 a.m.
A driver in the 9600 block of Harrisburg Road said a bullet hit the right front corner of his car. Around the same time, a motorcyclist said he thought a rock hit his bike near Harrisburg Road and Robinson Church Road. Later, he discovered what really happened.
“I saw the fender and I said, ‘wait a minute that's a gunshot,’” he said. He showed NewsChannel 36 the bike but asked not to be identified.
A foot or two higher, and the bullet would have hit him in the chest. A few inches lower, and it would have blown out a tire and potentially caused him to wreck.
“I'm just lucky,” he said. “I feel lucky and happy to be here.”
Around lunch, a bullet came flying through the front door and into the dining room of Jake’s Good Eats on Albemarle Road west of Interstate 485. The four-lane road out in the country is a place police rarely see violent crime.
“It was just a strange noise, kind of a little pop,” said Jake’s owner, Jacob Stegall. He walked out into the dining room to find a chair with a bullet hole, and a stunned family.
Stegall said a young man celebrating the last day of school had just gotten up to give his brother his seat. The few seconds granted by his kindness may have saved him from getting hit.
“Literally, it was probably 10 to 15 seconds later that the bullet came in and narrowly missed him,” said Stegall.
The bullet made small holes in the front door’s double screen and shattered the glass, but didn’t strike any of the customers waiting for a table in the busy restaurant.
“I was glad and fortunate no one yesterday was injured,” said Stegall.
Around 3 p.m., police were called to a home off Harrisburg Road after a man saw that the back window of his car had been shot out. His wife said she had heard a shot around 10 a.m., just after the two other shootings in the area that morning.
Two more drivers called between 8:30 and 9 p.m. to say someone had shot at their cars in the same area.
One driver reported a bullet came through his passenger window as he drove near the intersection of Albemarle Road and Parkton Road, and the other driver’s car was shot as she turned into parking lot off East W.T. Harris Boulevard.
The randomness of the shootings gives police a sense of urgency.
“We were at it all night, and will be at it all day today and tomorrow,” said Capt. Henson. CMPD is moving extra patrols that usually work in the Farm Pond area of Albemarle Road up into the Hickory Grove area.
They’re looking for a grey or silver Chevy Astro van, or a full-sized red truck or SUV.
Police ask anyone who sees something suspicious to call 911, and not to approach the cars. Anyone with information about Friday’s shootings should call CrimeStoppers at 704-334-1600.