CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two people are dead after a shooting in northeast Charlotte Sunday night, and the news is precisely what one organization tries to prevent in the lives of local young people.
Queen City News found a single bullet and a piece of crime scene tape in the Shoppes at Citiside parking lot, a strip mall with many immigrant-owned businesses at the corner of The Plaza and Eastway Drive.
When police arrived Sunday, officers said they found a 21-year-old Michael Anthony Brown Jr. and 16-year-old Jareese Raivon Floryber dead.
Concrete Roses Life Center is about five miles away from the scene of the double homicide, but the news still hits close to home. Omar Robinson is a mentor at Concrete Roses. He knows the impact of violence firsthand.
“It just made me think back to losing my brothers you know such you know young lives lost, you know they probably had great futures ahead,” Robinson said Monday. “It’s not just the individuals that were involved in the altercation. It’s the families that have the collateral damage.”
Robinson is a part of a group that volunteers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to reach students and steer them the right way before it’s too late.
“We try to tell them to take time to think about it before you react,” Robinson said. “Because one, you know, 10 seconds of anger can lead to 10 years or more in prison or your life. A lot of people in our community are, I like to say, emotionally unintelligent. We’ve got to do a better job at talking to our youth.”
Concrete Roses works with a team of mentors and therapists to proactively prevent violence by helping kids ages 12-17 understand purpose and self-love. Data shows out of all mental health therapists in the U.S., 4 percent are Black and most of them are women. Darius Brown, director of operations at Concrete Roses, says the organization has nine Black male therapists on staff, and that number is growing.
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“If our youth or individuals have purpose in life, it’ll derail them with a thought process of being so impulsive or getting involved in engaging in negative activity,” he said. “If you wake up with purpose in life, it will be much more fulfilling for you.”
CMPD continues to search for the suspect or suspects that killed the two victims in Sunday’s incident. Leaders at Concrete Rose are planning their summer activities to keep youth occupied.
“We have several groups that we host throughout the summer to continue to keep the children’s family engaged throughout the summer,” Brown said. “We do a STEM camp, just exposing them to STEM fields. We have workshops throughout the week. During the summertime we have different family engagement nights and things like that.”