Victim Identified in Charlotte’s First Homicide of 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC – We now know the name of Charlotte’s first homicide victim of 2017. Police say 22-year-old Natanael Rodriguez was shot at an apartment complex on Monroe Road.

So far, no arrests have been made.

In 2016, homicides were up in Charlotte-Mecklenburg for the second straight year.

There were 67 in 2016, compared to 60 the year before.

That followed a record low in 2014, only 44 homicides, the fewest number since the department started keeping records in 1977.

Now neighbors are concerned about the continued upward trend.

Giovanni Colon lost his cousin Christian Soto Mojica in a homicide back in November.

He says the killings are senseless.

“If people could change the way they look at certain situations, then that’s what you would ask them to do but it’s hard to get that across to people,” Colon says.

Retired CMPD Homicide Detective Gary McFadden says he’s committed to increasing dialogue with the community.

He spent Monday night with youth groups in North Charlotte.

“Not having the kids always being talked at. We talk at the kids all the time. But I say give them a platform to say, ‘What do you really want?’ How can we help change?'” McFadden says.

Colon says there’s not a lot police can do, without others being willing to step up.

“Eventually, something can push it to happen, it’s just.. it’s up to the community really,” Colon says.