CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department addressed aggressive bike riders Wednesday morning. During a news conference, police said they've been chasing chaos in Uptown and across Charlotte, putting other people in danger.
CMPD said they are ramping up their enforcement efforts.
“We’ve seen a really big uptick of the violence associated with these groups," Captain Bret Balamucki with CMPD said.
Since January of 2021, officers have charged 28 people, ages 11 to 27-years-old, and have seized at least eight bicycles, three dirt bikes, and two ATVs for crimes connected to riding recklessly in the street. While most cases occur in Uptown, similar incidents have been reported across Charlotte.
Recently, CMPD made arrests in several cases, holding offenders responsible who put Charlotte drivers and pedestrians in harm’s way in highly trafficked areas.
April 17 incident
On April 17, just before 9 p.m., Central Division officers responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call for service in the 200 block of W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. near Romare Bearden Park. A witness told police they saw a victim get shot and that the incident involved kids with bicycles.
Officers obtained cell phone video of the incident from a witness, showing an apparent fistfight between the victim and several suspects. Two of the suspects were armed. One of the suspects struck the victim in the back of the head and later fired shots into the victim’s vehicle, hitting the victim in the spine and likely leaving him paralyzed.
Officers tracked down a juvenile who was with the suspects during the shooting. After an interview, officers were able to identify the social media profiles of the involved subjects. Over the following days, officers tracked down the two teens who possessed firearms during the encounter.
Officers arrested the first suspect, 18-year-old Jermaine Walker Jr., and seized a firearm without a serial number. Walker advised officers he assembled the firearm himself. The second suspect -- accused of firing the gunshots -- was 19-year-old Makahi Alfayad, who was turned in by his mother to the Mecklenburg County Jail. Detectives were unable to locate the firearm used in the shooting.
April 20 incident
On April 20 Central Division officers observed four juveniles riding scooters the wrong way, swerving in and out of traffic in the 200 block of North Tryon St. Officers quickly arrested all four juveniles and charged them with reckless driving.
One of the suspects was also charged with assault by pointing a firearm after pointing a realistic-looking airsoft gun at an upset motorist. Four parents of those juveniles were also cited for contributing to delinquency and neglect.
April 24 incident
On Sunday, April 24, teams of officers took part in an organized patrol ride, showing a large presence in areas where these bike groups frequent.
The operation yielded two arrests: 20-year-old Christian Rivera, charged with felony fleeing to elude, and 24-year-old Marquis Massey, charged with felony fleeing to elude, resisting an officer, and reckless driving. Two dirt bikes and ATVs were also seized in the course of the day.
During the operation, CMPD helicopter saw one dirt biker doing wheelies on The Plaza. Two officers attempted to stop the suspect for reckless driving and not displaying a registration plate. The suspect fled and led officers on a pursuit. During the pursuit, the suspect threw an unlit Molotov cocktail at officers. He also drove erratically, attempting to ram Dual Sport officers off their motorbikes. The suspect was able to elude officers.
Detectives later identified the suspect as 25-year-old Joe Colombo Nguyen. Officers executed a search warrant and arrested Nguyen on five counts of assault with a deadly weapon on law enforcement. Nguyen also faces charges for felony fleeing to elude and possession of a weapon of mass destruction. During the search, officers seized a dirt bike, 40 pounds of marijuana, 22 grams of suspected fentanyl, a handgun, and a rifle. Nguyen was additionally charged with trafficking marijuana and trafficking opium or heroin.
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CMPD is working within the Juvenile and Adult Criminal Justice System to ensure that offenders don’t repeat their behavior once they’re caught.
“We’re at a point now where if we need to start, are going to need to start, coordination with our partners at the District Attorney and hold parents accountable as well for this type of behavior," Captain Balamucki said.
The CMPD is requesting the public’s help in reporting public safety issues. If citizens see groups driving recklessly and behaving erratically, they’re asked not to engage but call 911.
Tips can also be reported anonymously to Charlotte Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.