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Gun Violence In Charlotte: Young Victims, Young Suspects

Alvin C Jacobs Jr.
On the left is the text exchange between Alvin Jacobs and his 16-year-old son. The photo on the right shows the long line Jacobs waited in to pick up his son.

Monday, Sept. 20, 2021

On the night of Sept 7. 3-year-old Asiah Figueroa was shot and killed while sleeping. Police reported that his 4-year-old sister was wounded after more than 150 rounds of bullets were shot into the home where the children were that night.

Twenty-one-year-old Jacob Lanier was charged with attempted murder for Figueroa’s death while Qua’Tonio Stephens is charged with accessory. Police have said that they believe Figueroa’s death might be connected to three Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools and related to several other shootings in Charlotte.

Two days before Figueroa’s death, 16-year-old Jaylen Foster also was killed by gun violence and two other people were shot and injured. Police have arrested a 14-year-old in that case.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, so far in 2021, Mecklenburg County has had a total of 76 incidences where people were killed from gun violence and 80 incidences where people were injured. GVA reports that Figueroa was the first child killed in the area who was younger than 11.

On Charlotte Talks, we sit down with concerned local activists and violence experts and ask what should be done to prevent Charlotte youth from engaging in gun violence, and how communities of color have been affected by gun violence throughout the years.


Alvin C. Jacobs Jr., owner of ACJ Photo and image activist.

Mark Bryant, executive director of Gun Violence Archive.

Corine Mack, NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chapter President.

Shannon Reid, Assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at UNC Charlotte.

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Dante Miller is a community engagement producer for WFAE and a Report for America (RFA) Corps members. Dante first joined WFAE in 2020 through RFA to work as part of a unique partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Digital Public Library of America. Her work in that project allowed her to use radio, online stories, Wikipedia entries and events to meet the community's news and information needs.