CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The family of a 16-year-old Charlotte high school student who died of a gunshot wound two days before Christmas while visiting friends near the coast will leave Wednesday for Columbus County, in an effort to have charges filed in the case.
Carletta McNeil, the mother of Jasmine Thar, plans to meet Thursday with the district attorney in Columbus County to press her case. She will be joined by other family members and by Charlotte civil rights activist John Barnette.
McNeil says she believes her daughter’s death was racially motivated.
Thar, a sophomore at Ardrey Kell High School, died when she was struck by a bullet Dec. 23 at her godmother’s house in Chadbourn. The same bullet wounded her godmother and a friend. Police in Chadbourn say the bullet came from a Remington 700 rifle owned by James Anthony Blackwell, 23, who lives across the street.
Blackwell says the gun fired accidentally, and the Remington 700 has been the subject of several lawsuits in which it is alleged that the rifle can fire without the trigger being pulled.
But McNeill says evidence indicates the shooting might have had racial overtones. Blackwell is white, and the three shooting victims were African American.
Meanwhile, there are several published reports Wednesday that noted civil rights attorney Willie Gary of Florida has agreed to take Thar’s case. Gary has been involved in a number of high-profile cases, and according to reports, he plans to file a wrongful death suit in the case, regardless of whether charges are filed.
Gary is no stranger to the Charlotte area. He has become involved in supporting student achievement at West Charlotte High School and has spoken to students at least twice at that school.