CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte police officers are being called back in from days off and vacations after five people have been killed and five others hurt in shootings during a violent Labor Day holiday weekend in North Carolina’s largest city.
The dead include a 7-year-old boy killed during a birthday party around 9 p.m. Saturday in a front yard in southwest Charlotte. Another child and two other adults were wounded, but their injuries were not life threatening, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said.
“It’s a sad state of affairs in the city and our country when a 7-year-old boy can’t be free to celebrate a birthday party without being murdered,” Estes said at a news conference Sunday.
Police haven’t identified suspects or a motive in Kevin Antonio Calderon Rodas’ death. The other three fatal shootings this weekend also remain unsolved, Estes said.
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The sudden spate of violence led officials to call in officers from days off and vacation to help patrol and investigate, Estes said. He said the extraf officers would be used to search for illegal guns, among other steps.
“We think it is an absolute tragedy that in Charlotte-Mecklenburg we are seeing this type of violence,” Estes said. “We will not rest or not stop until we do everything we can to put a stop to it.”
While officers investigated the boy’s killing, authorities said they heard shots nearby about three hours later and found a woman dead and a man wounded from what appeared to be a drive-by shooting.
Also over the holiday weekend, a man was found dead from gunshot wounds in east Charlotte on Sunday morning, and police found a man shot to death Saturday morning in northwest Charlotte after a second man was dropped off at the hospital where he died from gunshot wounds.
“It is too early to say if any will be connected or not,” Estes said. “I can tell you what connects them is it is a senseless, tragic loss of life.”