CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte activist is begging anyone who was at the Juneteenth shooting two years ago to come forward with information that puts those responsible in jail.
“It was like a war zone out here,” Mario Black said.
Black, who founded the Stop the Violence movement, was on Beatties Ford Road almost two years ago when the third day of spontaneous Juneteenth celebrations turned into tragedy.
"I was actually live (on Instagram ) when all of a sudden I heard shots and saw all the people running over there to where I was," Black said, recalling the chaos. "People were running and then I heard my niece say there were bodies everywhere."
On Friday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police gave an update on the investigation. Lt. Bryan Crum said CMPD is working with federal agents to find the suspects but has been unable to locate them. The FBI contributed an additional $30,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest, bringing the total reward to $47,300.
Of the award total, the following contributions were made:
- Up to $30,000 from the FBI
- Up to $10,000 from ATF
- $5,000 from Crimestoppers
- $2,300 from private donors
"We ask that anyone that has any information, regardless of how small they think it may be, to give us a call," Crum said. "Our cases are built on very small details. It's important that we speak to everyone that has any information that may be of help to us."
CMPD said more than 100 shots were fired. Investigators found shell casings from multiple guns at the scene. When the shooting stopped, 10 people were hurt. Four others — Jamaa Cassell, Christopher Gleaton, Kelly Miller and Dairyon Stevenson — died.
Cassell, Gleaton and Stevenson died of gunshot wounds. Miller died as a result of being struck by multiple cars as she tried to run across the street to get away from the shooting.
"All three guys were fathers and Kelly was an artist," Black said. “As for the families, until they get the closure, we need to continue to make noise about it.”
He's organizing another march and a ceremony to honor the memory of the victims, just as he did last year. But two years later, CMPD still hasn't made any arrests. Black said the victims' families and friends want more than marches and memorials: They need answers and justice.
“If you were out here and know something, if anybody knows something, come forward so the families can begin to really properly heal," Black said.
Crum said detectives try their best to keep families updated on the progress of the investigation and apologized to those who feel left out of the loop.
"We have multiple families that want to be contacted on different schedules," he said. "Some families want to hear from us routinely, and we speak to them frequently. Some don't want to hear from us at all until we have a significant piece of information. If we come up short in their expectation, we need to do better and we'll work on that."
Any person with information is asked to call CMPD's Crime Stoppers tip line at 704-334-1600. Witnesses may also call the Charlotte FBI office at 704-672-6100.
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