CHARLOTTE, NC — CMPD Chief Kerr Putney is calling several shootings over the Labor Day weekend retaliation for some previous issues between two groups; two groups he calls gangs.
He’s asking for the public’s help to make sure that the killer of innocent child who was caught in the crossfire is brought to justice.
“If you know something in that community, you need to be talking to us,” says CMPD Chief Kerr Putney.
12 gunshot victims over the holiday weekend with five fatalities, including a seven-year old boy. Putney held a news conference Tuesday, calling the gun violence “beef between two groups”.
“Definite theme of retaliation, and to be quite frank with you, gang-like behavior,” says Chief Putney. “So we’re going to go after the suspects as if they are gang members.”
CMPD is treating the cases as connected. Making them a priority. Stepping up investigations. Increasing patrols in violent neighborhoods. And doubling the Crime Stoppers payout to $10,000.
“We’re targeting street level violence, period,” says Chief Putney. “We’re going to be assertive in those efforts.”
There is a makeshift memorial set up outside the Southwest Charlotte home where seven-year old Kevin Rodas was gunned down.
It happened Saturday night at a birthday party for Rodas’ cousin.
Search warrants show that someone at the party witnessed the shooting, and saw three men in a home across the street who then ran into the woods.
Chief Putney says CMPD is checking old cases with similarities and known criminals with gun violence on their record. But police also need help from the community, and right now no one is talking.
“There’s no reason, man, you should have to bury a seven-year old kid for a murder,” says Charlotte community activist Shaun Corbett.
Corbett works with the CMPD Cops and Barbers program. He says the time for talk is over.
“We can’t put it all on CMPD,” says Corbett. “We can’t put it all on our leaders. At the community, on the ground level, we have to take some kind of stand for our community.”
“It’s time for the community to step up and show me what they’re willing to do,” says Chief Putney. “Meet us halfway. That’s all we ask. We get enough information, we’ll break this case. We’ll lock some people up, and we’ll bring people to justice.”
Putney did not identify the gangs involved in the weekend shootings.
CMPD investigated 42 homicides in 2014. There have already been 43 homicides so far this year.