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CMPD says crimes involving guns are up; suspect in CATS bus driver's death still at large


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says while overall violent crime is down 5% from this time last year, crimes involving guns are up. Assaults with a deadly weapon are up 6% and shootings into occupied property are up 2%.

CMPD said during a news conference Wednesday that these numbers have been particularly high in recent weeks. And they include the shooting death of Charlotte Area Transit System bus driver Ethan Rivera, who was shot while on duty earlier this month.

CMPD also said it is still looking for the suspect in the shooting death of CATS bus driver Ethan Rivera. Police are still searching for Darian Dru Thavychith in connection to Feb. 11 shooting of Rivera, who died the next day.

“Don’t confront this person, don’t make any overt efforts yourself," CMPD Lt.Steven Fischbach said. "If you know where this person is, we're asking for information to be called through Crime Stoppers.”

The number for Crime Stoppers is 704-334-1600 and calls can be made anonymously.

CMPD Lt. Andy Royston works with the Crime Gun Suppression Team. He urged the public to keep their guns safely secured.

"One message I would love to put there is please secure your firearms. You cannot leave them in your vehicle unlocked," Royston said. "We have to take more responsibility preventing the guns (from) getting on the streets of Charlotte."

So far this year, the Crime Gun Suppression Team has made 28 arrests and seized 29 firearms. A recent investigation into a violent and active group in Charlotte resulted in six arrests, 11 firearm seizures and the recovery of large amounts of cash and marijuana.

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Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.
Catherine Welch is Assistant News Director at WFAE. She has led newsrooms at KUNC in Greely, CO, Rhode Island Public Radio in Providence, RI and WHQR in Wilmington, NC.