‘I lost my brother’: Young family members cope with teen’s shooting death

CHARLOTTE — Three young lives were tragically altered Sunday night after their loved one, 14-year-old Garinger High School student Johnnie McClendon, was shot and killed.

“I lost my brother, but I’m OK,” said Janysia McClendon. “I can still feel him here. I still feel him right here with me.”

They are coping with the impact of Johnnie McClendon’s death.

“His life was cut short,” said Jaquan McClendon, a cousin. “He was only 14. He’s not going to be able to go to the prom. He’s not going to be able to have a first love, his first heartbreak, travel.”

Johnnie McClendon was shot inside a Keswick Avenue home where he lived with his grandmother, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said. No further information was released by police.

Family members said the 19-year-old charged in the death was Johnnie McClendon’s friend and that he was showing off a gun while visiting Sunday night.

“He thought it was jammed,” Jaquan McClendon said. “It wasn’t jammed, and you see because of his actions, we lost my cousin.”

Myhijee Major turned himself into the police Tuesday after he was identified as a suspect.

“Yeah, it helps, because he ran the first time,” said Janysia McClendon. “He didn’t have to run.”

Janysia McClendon said, “I’m angry but I know that it was an accident. But I lost my brother at the end of the day, so I’ve got so many emotions.”

Major was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The victim’s family members hope their grief resonates with others their age.

“Nobody my age. Nobody my brother’s age. Nobody young at all should even be able to touch a gun. Be able to buy a gun,” Janysia McClendon. “If you see a gun, tell somebody. Get an adult. Do what you got to do, but don’t touch it.”

The nonprofit Mothers of Murdered Offspring is holding a memorial Friday at Garinger.

It will be at 3:30 p.m. by the gym and will be open to the public.

VIDEO: 14-year-old who played basketball for Garinger HS killed in shooting

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.