Police: Grandmother shot and killed in crossfire picking up granddaughter from birthday party

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CHARLOTTE, NC– A 63-year-old grandmother was shot and killed in the crossfire while trying to pick up her granddaughter from a birthday party.

According to police, Wilma Petty, the victim, is the 67th homicide in the city. A good friend of Petty, Robert Gaddy, spoke with FOX 46 about the tragic incident.

He said:

“She pulled up. I told Tete, her granddaughter, to make sure you get your grandmother something to eat. She came out and asked what she wanted.”

In the time it took for Tete to get her grandmother food, Petty was shot and killed. Police responded to the 300 block of West 28th Street just after 10:30 p.m. and found Petty with an apparent gunshot wound. The paramedics said she was found dead on arrival.

Gaddy said that he is sick and tired of the gun violence in Charlotte, especially in north Charlotte where gunshots are heard almost weekly.

He said the gunshots he heard Wednesday morning in Petty’s death are typical in his neighborhood and that it must stop.

He said:

“Because I live in affordable housing. I shouldn’t live like I’m in a third world country.

“My family is scared and we want answers. If anybody that was here saw anything, contact the Crime Stoppers number.”

Early Wednesday morning, Charlotte police held a press conference offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Petty’s death. 

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesperson said:

“Her killer hasn’t been brought to justice.”

These continuous shootings are the reason Gaddy says people must take action. He said in a statement:

“This is not isolated. I have complained at residential meetings about the shootings to the resident managers. This is not isolated.”

Lisa Crawford, with the group Mothers of Murdered Offspring said that she is tired and frustrated. She said in a statement:

“I am so tired. I don’t know what else to say. No one is listening.”

She said she is not counting deaths, she is counting lives:

“And these are not just murders, these are people. These are living, breathing mothers and grandmothers and fathers and brothers and they have lives and dreams. And then, they have nothing.”

In a separate incident, a 22-year-old man was shot overnight, bringing the number to 68. According to reports, there were 62 homicides last year at the same time. The victim, since identified as Andre Boyd, was shot to death at an apartment complex in north Charlotte.

According to reports, CMPD officers responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call for service. When officers arrived on scene, they located Boyd with multiple gunshot wounds lying the the common area of the apartment complex. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The night before these incidents, another 22-year-old was shot and killed. The victim, since identified as Keontez Stephens was pronounced dead shortly after being transported to a nearby hospital. Officers responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call for service and found Stephens lying in the street with a gunshot wound.

This is an ongoing investigation and if anyone has any information related to either incident, they are encouraged to call Charlotte Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. 

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Here’s another recent report from Law Enforcement Today regarding the shooting violence in Charlotte.

With police resources across the country being stretched thin by the coronavirus, either responding to calls for failure to social distance or due to the fact that the ranks are thinned by sick officers, crime goes on.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on Wednesday released video from a violent incident that occurred in the city earlier this month, where 45 shots were fired.

WBTV-3 in Charlotte reported that in the past week, there have been 30 shootings in the city. Apparently, Charlotte is trying to compete with Chicago as the shooting capital of the United States. Police say that they have made more than 1,100 violent crime arrests so far in 2020, while about 800 illegal firearms were taken off the street.

An example is on April 7, where an argument involving a custody dispute turned violent, where video showed a man taking an assault rifle and start shooting, with return fire being sent back in his direction.

In that case, police say that three people are facing charges:

  • Aubre Randolph was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property, felony conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
  • Ashley Clark was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property, felony conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
  • Dontae Harrison is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property, and felony conspiracy

Five weeks later, on May 1, a huge shootout broke out in North Charlotte at an apartment complex. Two women who spoke to WBTV saw the incident as it happened.

“I grabbed my sister, put her up under me and got under the car,” one witness said.

In that incident 45 shots were fired, police said. One person was struck, however was expected to survive.

In that case, three more people are facing charges:

  • Demarcus Davis is charged with charges of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and felony conspiracy.
  • Deondre Sturdivant is charged with two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property and possession of a stolen firearm.
  • Khaleil Pittman is facing two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Now, for the best part of the whole story? All of the suspects are currently back on the streets…every last one of them.

“Every single last one of them is back on the street,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department public relations coordinator Rob Tufano. “Right back on the street on electronic monitoring.”

Police told WBTV they were frustrated by the revolving door of the criminal justice system.

“We’ll do our part, turn them over to the judicial system, and then we’ll see what’s done with them, said Deputy Chief Jeff Estes.

The news station said that they reached out to see if the release of the shooters was related to COVID-19, but given the trend across the country, it’s probably an accurate assumption that this at least played into the releases.

Sounds kind of like our report out of New York this week, where a new report shows that more than 100 Rikers Island inmates have been rearrested after being released over their health concerns during this national crisis.

The New York Post reported that about 110 inmates accounted for 190 arrests since the pandemic first hit New York City.

Of the 190 arrests, 45 were for burglaries, according to NYPD data.  They say it’s helping contribute to a 43-percent spike in break-ins over the past month.

The Post reports that one of them was 37-year-old Jerard Iamunno.  He was arrested Sunday night after police say he robbed a 59-year-old man at a Harlem ATM with a knife, leading to the man handing over $20 in cash.

On March 25, Iamunno was released after he pleaded guilty to grand larceny and a separate drug charge.

Last month, more than 16,000 inmates were reportedly released from facilities all over the U.S., including about 1,500 from New York City jails.

According to Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio, those rearrested have “thrown away their second chance”.  He made the comments, adding that it’s now up to the NYPD to control the chaos they’ve created.

“I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done,” he said during a news briefing.

“We’re going to keep, just buckling down on it, making sure there is close monitoring and supervision to the maximum extent possible and the NYPD is going to keep doing what they’re doing.”

Fox News reports that Hollywood elites like Joaquin Phoenix, along with congressional Democrats, have been pushing for the release of prisoners.  They argue it’s to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. 

In April, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee pushed the Attorney to “release as many prisoners as possible.”

The letter was sent by Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.  He was apparently in response to the death of the first federal prisoner due to COVID-19.

Fox News reports that San Bernadino County Sheriff John McMahon and others have pushed back against the measure.  He said these moves will pose a danger to the public.

He argued in an April interview with Fox 11 that repeat child abusers are able to benefit from California’s $0 cash bail emergency mandate, and he said they’re being put back into the public.

He pointed out there are 13 exceptions for serious offenses, but child abuse was not one of them.

“Felony child abuse does not fit into that list of 13, so even though this guy had a prior for domestic violence conviction for child abuse, he gets arrested for child abuse again, and then he gets released on zero bail with a court date in July,” McMahon said.

“So that just doesn’t make any sense to me, maybe I’m missing something, but that doesn’t seem to me to be the right thing to do to protect the citizens of our county. If that person is in our custody, we can protect the victim, if he’s not, we can’t.”

In April, we reported that someone who was being held in jail under rape charges was released from Rikers over COVID-19 fears and was then rearrested for an attempted rape.

Even Sesame Street’s Count von Count would have a hard time keeping track of how many screw-ups the prison-covid-coddling has mustered up.

Police say that 57-year-old Robert Pondexter was arrested in the early morning hours of April 25th, after he reportedly tried to rape a woman in a school parking lot. Officials stated that Pondexter grabbed a 58-year-old woman by her collar, not far from the Concern Heights Apartments, and choked her prior to forcing her to perform oral sex.

He then allegedly instructed the victim to remove her undergarments, but she was able to kick Pondexter off of her and escape.

Pondexter had been released from Rikers on April 15th, reportedly over concerns of COVID-19 spreading through the facility. He was in Rikers in the first place because of an alleged rape..

Maybe people in jail under allegations of criminal acts akin to rape shouldn’t be high on the priority-list of COVID-19 releases. I mean, there had to have been some other inmates that could have been a better choice for release other than the suspected rapist.

Police say that when they arrested Pondexter on the 25th, he was in possession of a crack pipe. Chances are, whoever approved his release might have one at their residence as well, because you’d have to be high to think a suspected rapist is a good candidate for a COVID-19 release.

Of course, this nonsense came just days after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to keep a better eye on those COVID-19 releases. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio has had a little bit of a reoffender issue regarding the combination of both bail reform and now releases attributed to COVID-19 within the city’s jails.

So, when he addressed the press on April 20th about the issues, he noted that they’re going to be keeping track of released inmates to the “maximum step possible.”

After releasing the likes of about 1,400 inmates from Rikers, Mayor Bill de Blasio was fairly perturbed to hear that those who were shown compassion “allegedly” decided to reoffend:

“I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done.”

While the number of those rearrested is minute compared to those released, that doesn’t change the fact that the mayor is upset that there were any re-arrests of that population to begin with:

“We do see some recidivism. I have not seen a huge amount, but any amount is obviously troubling.”

Mayor de Blasio stated that of those inmates who were recently released due to COVID-19 fears, officials will be working hard to keep a close eye on them:

“We’re going to just keep buckling down on it, making sure there’s close monitoring and supervision to the maximum step possible. And the NYPD is going to keep doing what they’re doing.”

You know, those expressed sentiments from the mayor of New York City would be a lot more comforting if the entire state didn’t have such a crummy track record of keeping tabs on people already on parole.

Or if good ol’ Mayor de Blasio showed his NYPD any type of support. Like, any at all.

Multiple unions with the NYPD, especially the Sergeants Benevolent Association, doesn’t pull punches when it comes to telling de Blasio just how much they resent his lack of leadership and support to the officers in his city.

Not that it makes the mayor change his ways, but at least people know from how vocal the unions are that the police are trying to do everything they can to make New York a better and safer city. But it’s not an easy thing to do when no matter what you do, politicians will help the media paint you to be the bad guy.

Not to mention the fact that the city, and the state for that matter, don’t listen to the subject matter experts when it comes to things like bail reform, inmate release, and monitoring. 

Back in February of this year, we reported on how the state had royally screwed the pooch when it came to monitoring recently paroled prisoners.

A recent investigation done by CBS 6 revealed that New York state has lost track of literally thousands of people on parole – you know, the people that need to be most closely monitored upon reentering society.

According to the outcome of the investigation, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision can’t account for nearly one out of ten people on parole in the state.

The parolees unaccounted for within the state are what’s known as “absconders”.

Karen Zieglar functions as the Director of the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center was surprised to hear how many were on the lamb in the state. That number being 3,275. Zieglar was astounded by that figure:

“Wow. I don’t think anyone in the community is aware of that number.”

That was the figure reported as of January 6th of this year, only a few days after “bail reform” started.  Updated figures – which may be considerably higher – weren’t available as of the time of this report.

People who “abscond” from their parole are individuals who are required to maintain contact with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision while finishing up the remainder of their sentences while at home or a halfway house.

This typically entails cadenced visits on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, with periodic drug and alcohol screenings for those with a history of substance abuse.

Zieglar noted that these parolees who have vanished aren’t exactly the harmless type:

“These are not your average pickpocketers, these are people who are hurting and potentially devastating other people’s lives.”

This couldn’t be a truer of a statement by Zieglar. In fact, the local CBS 6 station was alerted about a recent absconder who was on parole for manslaughter while they were meant to be supervised.

When authorities finally caught up with the individual, they weren’t arrested for absconding from parole – they were arrested in connection with the shooting of a 16-year-old.

According to the DOCCS, they arrested an average of 175 parole absconders every month of 2019, but people are absconding from parole faster than the state can corral them back up.

In June of 2019, the total absconders were 3,203 and by January of this year it climbed to 3,275. Zieglar was asked her thoughts on what the numbers make her wonder.

Karen Zieglar replied to that question with:

“I would certainly want to know what they’re doing to find them.”

Zieglar isn’t desolate in her wondering what the state is trying to do to address for those unaccounted convicted felons.

The local news crew went straight to Anthony Annucci, the Acting Commissioner of the DOCCS with that very question. However, when Annucci was approached, his staff alongside stated to direct all questions to his public relations director.

Apparently, all the public relations department would state was that efforts would be made to inform victims when certain parolees removed their GPS device:

“If there is a known threat to a victim attempts would be made to notify them.”

Call me a skeptic, but I doubt any standard citizen in New York is aware they’re entrenched in the parolee-version of Operation Fast and Furious. That same skepticism is shared by Zieglar:

“I don’t think victims are being told, I don’t think they’re warned, I don’t think they’re aware they’re safety is being compromised.”

Wayne Spence, who is a parole officer and also the President of the New York State Public Employees Federation, noted that any active absconder is a public risk. The union Spence heads represents over 900 parole officers throughout the state, and pointed out one of the largest factors contributing for those unaccounted for. He noted that New York has been eliminating parole officer positions since the 1990s:

“We are still in need of parole officers out there to do the job.”

According to Spence, case loads have gotten essentially unmanageable. He noted that there should be a parolee-to-parole officer ratio of 20-to-1, but the reality is that most officers are among a 60-1 ratio currently:

“It’s asking a parole officer to turn water into wine. You’re asking them to do miracles, and it just doesn’t happen.”

Information that the DOCCS was willing to release on absconders showed that 95 of the missing parolees were sex offenders and 50 were considered violent sex offenders.

Of course, those aren’t the current numbers, those were details they begrudgingly released that were from May of 2019.

So, what does the DOCCS think about all this? Well, they actually think they’re doing a bang-up job:

“DOCCS supervision standards exceed or are within the established American Probation and Parole Association and National Institute of Corrections recommended standards.”

Keeping track of 9 out of 10 parolees isn’t a number to be proud of – there are some tasks where your average can’t be that of an -A. If a pilot landed a plane properly 9 out of 10 times, they likely wouldn’t be a pilot. Some endeavors require near perfect execution – and the resources to accomplish that success as well.

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