Three Years and Counting: The Family of LaQuanta Young Remain Steadfast Demanding Justice


Makheru Bradley
Makheru Bradley

CHARLOTTE, NC - During Labor Day weekend of 2015, Charlotte experienced one of the most tragic outbreaks of violence in its history. Twelve people were shot and five of those were killed: Kevin Calderon Rodas (7); James Taylor (23); Dominique Wheeler (25); Elias Izagirre Perez (30), and LaQuanta Franchez Young (30).

Based on current press reports the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has only made one arrest in those five killings. In November 2015, Quincy Dushawn McWaine (18), was charged with murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in the shooting of Elias Perez.

Per press reports: “LaQuanta Young was outside a house on Echodale Drive when someone fired shots. She was hit, and died later at the hospital.”

A mother’s plea

As the third remembrance of the death of LaQuanta Franchez Young approaches, her mother, Sonja Watt, shares these words with the Charlotte community:

LaQuanta Young
“My daughter, LaQuanta Franchez Young went out on Labor Day weekend (2015) as dusk was falling. A drive-by shooter fired into a crowd of people and my daughter lost her life. How and why did this happen? How can someone have such an insensitive and cruel disregard for human life, to just shoot, not caring who they would hit. Shortly before my daughter was killed, in the very same neighborhood, someone fired into a crowd at a child’s birthday party, killing a 7-year-old.”

She continued, “I talk to the detective on a regular basis and I believe he’s still working to solve the murder of my daughter, but is he working hard enough?”

“I loved my daughter so much. Never in a million years would I have thought that something would happen to such a sweet, loving, and caring person. I miss LaQuanta so much. I still cry every day for my daughter, whose life was stolen from her. I continue to pray that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, the arc of the moral universe will bend towards justice for my daughter, LaQuanta Franchez Young,” she said.

The Labor Day killings were part of a 3 year homicide spike in Charlotte

Ms. Young was one of 62 homicide victims in Charlotte in 2015. Of those 62 victims, 44 (70 percent) were Afrikan Americans. By comparison about 35 percent of Charlotte’s population is Afrikan American. Charlotte homicides increased to 69 in 2016, and increased again in 2017 to 87, which was the highest total since 1995. The highest total ever recorded was 129 homicides in 1993, as violence was spiking nationwide largely due to the crack cocaine epidemic. The homicide rate has decreased so far in 2018.

America’s homicide closure rates are decreasing but Charlotte is above average

Homicides have been increasing in many cities in the United States since 2014, and so far criminologists can’t point to one major reason (like the crack epidemic) as to why. One factor has to be the declining homicide closure rates in America’s largest cities. Too many cold-blooded killers are getting away with murder in the United States.

Per the Washington Post: More than half of the homicides in America's 50 largest cities went unsolved over the past 10 years.

The Post also found:

• 34 of the 50 cities analyzed have a lower homicide arrest rate now compared to a decade ago;

• Killings have increased in 17 cities over the past decade and police now make fewer arrests in these cities;

• An arrest was made in 63 percent of homicides of White victims compared with 48 percent of Latino victims and 46 percent of Black victims; and

• Almost all the low-arrest zones are home primarily to low-income Black residents.

CMPD has done far better than the 10-year national average per the Post: There were 687 homicides in Charlotte between 2007 and 2017 and 70 percent of these homicides resulted in an arrest.

However, an October 2015 press report said that 18 of the 48 killings up to that date remained open. Those 18 included four of the five people killed on Labor Day weekend.

How the Charlotte community can help

The Facebook page of LaQuanta Young requests that anyone with any information about her murder call CMPD detective Cole at 704-336-2314.

LaQuanta Young’s family will gather at the home of her mother on September 6 for their 3rd annual day of remembrance and candlelight vigil.