‘Frightful’: Charlotte residents demand change after shootings at public housing complexes

CHARLOTTE — Some Charlotte residents are voicing their growing concerns after two separate shootings overnight happened at apartment complexes ran by the city’s housing authority.

Those shootings come 48 hours after a 4-year-old was shot at another Inlivian property.

The latest crimes have residents who live at these properties worried about their own safety, but now, Inlivian is responding with some solutions.

Sharon Charity took Channel 9 on a tour, showing us the bullet holes left in cars at her University City apartment complex early Wednesday morning.

“A lady’s tire got blown out, and another lady’s car was shot up,” Charity said. She added that she was one of the first ones to call 911.

One bullet flew through Rose Dawson’s front window, hitting a wall inside -- all while her family was asleep.

“It’s terrifying,” Dawson said. “It really is terrifying and was frightful.”

Since March, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers have been called to or near the Robinsdale Apartments 77 times -- apartments which are operated by Inlivian. Charity has noticed the pattern.

“We went through one year where there were a lot of shootings. We actually got the people out of the neighborhood who were causing the problems,” she said.

Both Charity and Dawson say they feel unsafe living there.

“I am tired! I’m tired!” Charity said.

“We all need to live safely,” Dawson said.

“We want to know where is our security down here?” Charity asked. “Cameras should be able to catch whoever drove up down there and shot up in this community like this.”

“They (Inlivian) needs to show their presence in our community,” she added. And later: “We understand they can’t sit around and watch us. We do need people in the neighborhood to speak up and say what they know.”

Channel 9 spotted several surveillance cameras on the property. Inlivian says it captured the shots being fired from a car on Margie Ann Drive Wednesday morning. They’re now working with police to solve the crime.

Across town, another Inlivian property was the scene of a different shooting just two hours before.

And on Monday night, a 4-year-old was shot in a drive-by at Wallace Woods Apartments -- another property that’s operated by Inlivian. It’s a pattern that has residents fed up.

‘This is a difficult time for everyone’

“We understand their frustration,” said Inlivian’s Cheron Porter. “It is our frustration.”

Porter said the local and national conversation around gun violence is not lost on her.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in this city and across the country,” she said. “Unfortunately, yes -- our communities are being highlighted, but gun violence is up across this city, across this country.”

She said she believes what residents are seeing in Charlotte is part of what’s happening nationwide.

“We’re here trying to get the answers like everyone else,” she said.

Porter says they evict people who are bringing trouble to their complexes. All of their apartments have working surveillance cameras, and they’ve even started an anonymous “see something, say something” hotline begging residents to do their parts.

“It’s not enough that they know among their neighbors what people are doing, they’ve got to tell us as well,” Porter said. She later added that everyone -- residents, Inlivian, police -- needs to work together to make change.

Porter also said Inlivian is putting its residents first as it works on the problem.

“We do need the help of residents that when they see something, to tell us what’s going on,” she said. “When they see someone who’s not supposed to be in our community, we do everything we can, legally, to respond to the challenges.”

Back at Robinsdale, Dawson is still shaken, but she’s hopeful more security will be put in place to stop the violence.

“I’m worried about tonight,” she said. “You never know what the people’s means were, if it’s gang-related, if they’re coming back. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Inlivian staff told Channel 9 they met with residents at Wallace Woods Apartments Wednesday morning, which is where the 4-year-old was shot earlier this week. Robinsdale residents will soon be able to meet with Inlivian about their safety concerns, too -- that meeting is currently being planned.

“Everybody, everybody deserves safety,” Charity said.

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