CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police have arrested a pair of teenagers — one of them a convicted felon — after police said the two were involved in a series of robberies and shootings early Tuesday morning in south Charlotte.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, officers responded around 4:35 a.m. to reports of a shooting near Otter Creek Drive. Detectives learned that a man confronted two suspects breaking into his wife’s car. The suspects flashed a gun and drove away in a white Toyota Camry, but then circled back and fired several rounds at the man while he was sitting in his vehicle. That victim was not hurt but his vehicle was hit by gunfire, police said.
About 15 minutes later, police were called to an armed robbery near Clems Branch Drive. Detectives were told that a white Toyota Camry pulled behind a man’s car and that a suspect got out of the Camry, put on a mask and pointed a gun at the victim. The victim, though, was also armed and shot at the suspect, who took off in the Camry, according to CMPD.
Six minutes later, officers spotted that stolen Camry which matched the description of the vehicle used in the previous two crimes and tried to pull it over. The driver refused to stop, though, and led police on a chase that ended when the Camry crashed into a tree on Bevington Place.
Channel 9 crews were at that scene and could see the badly damaged vehicle.
The teenage driver, who police said is a convicted felon, was taken to the hospital but will survive. Officers said the Camry was reported stolen on Jan. 29.
Officers were still working to identify the second suspect when they were called around 6:30 a.m. to a reported shooting at a house on Myers Mill Lane in Ballantyne, which is off Lancaster Highway. When they arrived, police found a 17-year-old boy who had been shot.
Channel 9 crews could see a huge police presence up and down Myers Mill Lane, with crime scene tape around a house and crime scene investigators marking shell casings with evidence markers.
Detectives learned the 17-year-old had approached a woman in her driveway, took out a gun and stole her keys. During the carjacking, the victim’s husband ran out of the house and tackled the suspect.
Neighbors heard the commotion and also ran outside. At least one of them was armed and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon, police said.
When the suspect refused, one of the neighbors shot him.
Those neighbors then held down the teenager until police arrived. He was taken to the hospital but will be OK, according to CMPD.
Both suspects are still in the hospital and their names and charges will be released when they are arrested.
Neighbors Channel 9 spoke with described the chaotic scene.
“I was upstairs getting ready for school and when I came out she was yelling so much: ‘My husband’s been shot!’” said one neighbor, who did not want to be identified. “I came out to see what I could do because at first, I thought her house was on fire, but she then said, ‘No, my husband’s been shot.’”
She said the situation was very confusing and scary.
“She said, ‘Get back in the house, he has the gun.’ I couldn’t get too close because one of my other neighbors said, ‘No, just go!’ So it looked like they were holding somebody down,” she said.
[PHOTOS: Shooting in Ballantyne neighborhood]
Other neighbors said it was a complex scene. They said the woman who was carjacked had just returned home from the gym and was followed by another car, which pulled in behind her.
One of those neighbors, Burton Fulton, was armed with a shotgun and helped hold the suspect at gunpoint inside a locked car until police arrived. At some point, the suspect was shot in the leg.
“When we woke up this morning, we heard Kelly screaming, ‘Help, help, help Brian’s been shot,’” Fulton said.
Fulton is an Army veteran and lives across the street from the victim. He said when he heard the shouting, he grabbed his shotgun and went to help.
“Brian, the homeowner, tackled the guy first,” Fulton said. “Mark showed up and got a hold of one of his arms pinned behind his back so he had his right arm free. Basically, Mark just laid on top of the guy. It was probably five to 10 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity.”
During the scuffle, one of the neighbors shot the teen suspect in the leg when he appeared to be reaching for his gun.
“He was reaching for it,” Fulton said. “He’d already confirmed that he had a weapon, so we were just trying to make sure nobody else got shot.”
The woman’s husband suffered a gash to his head while wrestling with the suspect, but will be OK, neighbors said.
What are your rights in NC? How can you legally defend yourself?
In this case, the victims fought back and some started shooting back, but Channel 9 wanted to know exactly how far you can go to protect yourself when something like this happens.
North Carolina has both a “Stand Your Ground” law and a Castle Doctrine. It means you can defend yourself whether you are at home, in the workplace or inside your car.
There are restrictions — the attacker must be armed. You can’t shoot an unarmed suspect. You also can’t shoot a fleeing suspect. In other words, that person has to be a threat and if they are running away, the law doesn’t consider them to be a danger.
If someone is shooting at you, then you would be justified.
North Carolina does not allow you to shoot someone just because they are stealing property. You can’t shoot at someone because you catch them breaking into your car, but the law would allow you to hold a suspect at gunpoint until the police arrive.
There were four crimes total. All the victims resisted and in two of the cases, the victims or neighbors used firearms to fight back.
“I think it says a lot about the community, that they are willing to do that,” said NRA instructor Mike Simpson. “If someone wants to get involved and helps their neighbor, I think that’s a great thing.”
Simpson said he sees a growing number of people who have been training on how to protect themselves.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.
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