Charlotte Reaches 76 Homicides in 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC – A call for action to curb crime, as the Queen City reaches 76 homicides this year.

“The city’s gotta get out in front of this,” says Robert Dawkins, with Action NC.

Two homicides in three hours has activists again calling for action.

In West Charlotte, police say 27-year-old Kwame Deese was stabbed to death by Johnny Boyd, 25, around 8:30 Tuesday night.

It happened after a large fight on Timberbrook Drive.

Then just after 11, a man was shot and killed inside a business on Amity Court in East Charlotte.

Investigators say it appears to be a robbery and the two didn’t know each other.

The victim has not been identified.

“Personal responsibility is needed, but the city does have a role to step in, in situations of public safety,” Dawkins says.

He and others are calling for city leaders to bring back the homicide task force, which last met after a 2005 spike in murders.

“Been a rough year. I think that we’ll definitely pass the amount that we had in 2005, when we got to 85, fall somewhere between there and a hundred,” Dawkins says.

Wednesday police also announced an arrest in another recent homicide.

Investigators say it appears 28-year-old Mahmood Bhatti strangled his pregnant girlfriend Natalie Merrick and dumped her body near a creek in Fort Mill.

“We know that she was murdered in Charlotte. We can’t say exactly, right now, that’s just part of the investigation,” explains CMPD Capt. Chris Dozier.

The two lived together in an apartment on Via Romano Drive in South Charlotte.

An arrest warrant shows Bhatti was accused of assaulting Merrick back in August.

“If you’re in that situation, we want to help you. We want to be a part of the solution, to help you get out of that situation,” Dozier says.