CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The country is in mourning this week after two mass shootings -- 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas last Saturday and hours later, 9 more people killed in Dayton, Ohio. In the Queen City, there was also a spike in gun violence with four homicides in one week.
The total so far this year up to 70, well over the number of homicides in all of 2018 in Charlotte.
These alarming numbers are mobilizing community members, encouraging them to come together -- some to advocate for change, and others celebrating the diversity they feel is under attack.
As police respond to murder calls, community leaders are calling for something of their own.
"I froze as fear gripped my heart and my instincts took over,” Megan Beach, a UNC Charlotte survivor recounted.
She joined elected officials at the Government Center demanding stricter gun laws.
"Shots flew through the air, two of my classmates took their last breaths and my soul was forever scarred as I was trampled in the panic as we all attempted to exit through one single door,” she said.
A week following the deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, community members in Charlotte took a moment of silence, honoring the people whose lives were taken. Then a sign of strength: a race to celebrate Charlotte’s diverse community.
Organizers for Charlotte's City of Immigrants 5K say it’s necessary, even more so after the shooter in El Paso targeted Hispanic people.
“We need to stand in solidarity together and not let this divisive rhetoric and what happened last weekend divide us,” said Jonathan Peebles with the Latin American Coalition.
Extra CMPD officers were brought in to patrol the event, a sign of the fear rippling through our country and city. Almost every day this week in Charlotte someone was gunned down.
Police officers are concerned about the number of shootings this week and the number of people turning to violence.
But at Saturday's events, the overarching message was simple: the community will not let fear win.