As many as 10 times in four months members of Charlotte’s Hidden Valley Kings have shot at one another in their own neighborhood, says the Charlotte Observer. Their bullets pierced cars and homes and sent innocent people running for cover. Now a 22-year-old man is dead. Two other people have been shot. And five men are in jail facing murder charges. At a community meeting, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Michelle Hummel urged residents to use the tragedy to turn around their fragile neighborhood. She said police will use it to show younger gang members and others considering the lifestyle that gang life ends badly.
It was the fifth gang-involved homicide in Charlotte-Mecklenburg this year. Police say Charlotte’s gangs — 65 had been identified last year — are mostly involved in property crimes. Gangs have been connected to at least one killing every year since 2000. Police have created a gang intelligence unit focused on deporting illegal-immigrant gang members, arresting the most violent, and educating others about the danger of the gang lifestyle. Hummel said that because nobody was hurt in those cases, the men were charged with misdemeanors and able to get out of jail quickly on bond. “They had total disregard for their own safety and for everybody else who lived out there,” she said.