Police charge 16-year-old with uptown Charlotte fatal shooting

earriero@charlotteobserver.comDecember 23, 2013 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police charged a 16-year-old in the fatal shooting of a man in uptown Charlotte on Saturday night.

David Michael Simpson was charged with the murder of Richard Marquis Bonds, 30, police said.

Detectives determined that Bonds was involved in a fistfight in a parking lot in the 400 block of East Trade Street, police said in a news release Sunday. During the fight, Simpson shot Bonds, police said.

It was unclear whether Simpson was also involved in the fistfight. CMPD spokesman Keith Trietley would not discuss a motive for the shooting or give any other details about the incident. Surveillance cameras in the area captured the fight and a possible suspect vehicle leaving the scene, police said.

Witnesses to the shooting gave police the license plate information of a car they said was a possible suspect vehicle, and that was broadcast to surrounding divisions. A short time later, a crash was reported at the 3100 block of Rozzelles Ferry Road involving a car with that license plate, police said.

Police gave few details, so many of the events surrounding the shooting and the arrest were unclear. Simpson was arrested early Sunday without incident, but it was not clear whether he was arrested at the accident scene on Rozzelles Ferry Road or somewhere else.

Police said that when they arrived at the accident scene, they found one subject still in the vehicle, and they determined that another person had run away. The person found inside the vehicle was taken to police headquarters for questioning but it was not clear if that person was Simpson.

Simpson was taken to police headquarters to be interviewed by detectives, police said. After that, police planned to transfer him to the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, where he will remain.

Police said evidence gathered from surveillance cameras as well as multiple witness statements were instrumental in the investigation.

Kim Taylor, a spokeswoman for CATS, said the incident did not happen on the system’s property and did not involve any of its riders. Passengers at the Charlotte Transportation Center, which is located about a block from where the fatal shooting happened, said Sunday that they feel safe navigating the uptown area.

“I don’t feel threatened,” Tasha Mac said. “I feel safe.”

But passenger John Harris thinks security measures are lacking in uptown Charlotte, especially when compared to other cities of similar size.

“I feel safe now but I think they should get more prepared,” said Harris. “I think things are only gonna get worse.”

Police Capt. Rich Austin said residents can feel safe in uptown Charlotte.

“We want the public to know that downtown is a safe place with plenty of police officer presence,” he said.

Crime statistics released by the department in September showed that violent crime in the Central Division, which includes the spot where Saturday’s shooting took place, was up 14.4 percent year-to-date from 2012 and that property crime was down 9.5 percent year-to-date from 2012.

But homicide in the division was down from one through September of last year to zero during the same period this year.

Simpson, who will turn 17 on Dec. 27, was convicted of misdemeanor larceny in November and was awaiting trial on charges of misdemeanor larceny, possession of a handgun by a minor and carrying a concealed gun.

Police asked anyone with information about the shooting to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a detective.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero

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