Teen arrested after 14-year-old CMS student found shot to death in woods, police say

CHARLOTTE — A 16-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder after the body of a 14-year-old shooting victim was found Wednesday in the woods of a north Charlotte community, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced Thursday.

The victim was identified as Jonathan Miller, a student at Julius L. Chambers High School in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district, officials said.

The teen suspect was transferred to the custody of Stonewall Jackson Detention Facility.

Neighbors are piecing together the crime alongside the police after Tuesday night gunfire sent some running inside.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department detectives with the North Tryon Division are looking into crucial details that can explain what happened in the residential area.

People in the area said they may hear random gunfire from time to time but there’s never been a homicide investigation. However, some kids in the community got an unfortunate, up-close view of the homicide investigation.

“It’s very scary to know that you’re not even safe in the community where there’s a lot of kids that walk around,” said 16-year-old Christopher Carbajal.

Channel 9′s Jonathan Lowe spoke with the teen with his guardian’s permission. Carbajal said he stepped out to walk his dog Tuesday night.

“And, like, two minutes later I hear six or eight gunshots just go off one after another,” he said.

The gunfire was close, so he didn’t stick around to see where it came from.

“I went right back inside, that was my first instinct,” he said.

Someone called CMPD the next day to report that a body was discovered in the woods behind homes along Ann Elizabeth Drive in the Kingswood community.

“Since there are bike trails in the back, the kids usually go back there on their bikes, and one of the kids found them,” Carbajal said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police believe the teen was shot and killed in the woods behind Ann Elizabeth Drive Tuesday night, the police report says.

Channel 9 is asking authorities for the identity of the teen victim and where he is from. A spokesperson for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was not able to say whether the 14-year-old is a student in the district.

It’s a scene that’s left Carbajal putting two-and-two together when it comes to what he heard Tuesday night.

“It kind of freaked me out since the gunshots were last night, so my initial thought was somebody got shot,” the teen said.

Officers have been canvassing that community looking for and interviewing witnesses as well as doorbell camera video.

There was no word on suspects.

Teen violence solutions

The City of Charlotte is investing millions of dollars in efforts to stop this kind of tragedy from happening.

Channel 9′s Joe Bruno learned 29% of teens who responded to a Charlotte City Council survey know someone under 18 who is a victim of violence.

The deadly shooting this week is yet another crime involving a juvenile in Charlotte. Last month, CMPD said kid and teen suspects are responsible for at least 21 shootings this year. It’s a problem that has the attention of city council and violence prevention advocates.

“I am not a person that believes it can all be done without law enforcement,” said SAFE Coalition’s Robert Dawkins.

Dawkins said it will take the city, CMPD and activists working together to reduce juvenile crime. He said it is heartbreaking to see case after case involving teens.

The city plans to invest millions in juvenile crime prevention efforts. Dawkins wants some of those dollars to go to youth violence prevention centers.

“How can people deal with their sorrow, how can people deal with their anger, and how can people see there is another alternative?” he asked.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: Teen charged with attempted murder of 13-year-old)

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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