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‘He was a bright kid’ | Heal Charlotte remembers 16-year-old mentee who CMPD says was murdered

Investigators found Ruben Contreras shot and killed in northeast Charlotte on Saturday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Heal Charlotte, a non-profit dedicated to building better communities for the youth, is now dealing with the tragic death of 16-year-old Ruben Contreras. It's a loss that hits especially close to home, as Contreras was a long-time mentee in the youth program.

Heal Charlotte founder Greg Jackson says he’s know Contreras for the past three years and watched him grow into a young man.

“He was a bright kid—very smart, “Jackson said. “He liked to have fun, he was a prankster.”

Saturday night, police said Contreras was fatally shot at the Orchard Trace Condominiums near North Tryon Street. Jackson says his death is impacting several other young kids in the neighborhood, too.

RELATED: 16-year-old killed in northeast Charlotte shooting

“It's a reality check for them,” Jackson said. "They’re hurt, they’re frustrated, they’re in pain.”

So far in 2020, we’ve seen plenty other cases of children dying by gunfire across Charlotte.

RELATED: Two charged in shooting death of 5-year-old 

RELATED: 14-year-old shot, killed in West Charlotte 

Jackson hopes to elevate Heal Charlotte as a non-profit that owns the buildings it serves in and also invests more to help give back.

“It’s time for us to find other revenue streams so we can stay sustainable without relying on the city as a government or the county to fund the things we need for the community,” Jackson said.

The hope is that with more mentorship it can be the next step to help stop violence and save lives.

“Find a way to give back, find a way to be a mentor," he said. "Find a way to pour into someone’s life.”

So far CMPD, has not announced any arrests in this case. If you have information about this homicide give Crime Stoppers a call at 704-334-1600.