Posted on Fri, Jan. 13, 2006
2 held in Charlotte teen's shooting death
Slain youth in gang, police sources say, but killing is likely random
MELISSA MANWARE AND FRED KELLY
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say a teenager shot to death earlier this week led a Crips gang and had been charged recently with beating a member of the Bloods.
But detectives say his killing appears to be a random robbery -- not at all connected to the gang feud.
Police early Thursday charged Derrick Marquis Watson, 18, and Lawrence Eric Chapman, 20, with murder in Tuesday's fatal shooting of 17-year-old Tyrice Terrell Givens.
Homicide Capt. Sean Mulhall said investigators believe Watson and Chapman did not know Givens and had intended to rob him. Mulhall would not say how police knew that.
Givens was shot on Burkland Drive near Wendover Road about 3:30 a.m. Police found him lying in the street after they went there to check out a call from someone who'd heard a gunshot and screeching tires.
Family members said Givens had been hanging out with his cousins and was walking to a female friend's house when he was killed. He lived in Mint Hill with his mother and had attended Independence High School.
Givens left Independence after a November fight outside the cafeteria. According to police and court records, he was charged with assault and beat the other student so badly that the student had to go to the hospital.
Givens was expected in court on the case next Wednesday.
Two police sources told the Observer Givens headed a Crips gang at Independence High School and the other person involved in the fight led a Bloods gang. The fight, they said, was related to the gangs.
Givens also was arrested at school in September and charged with disorderly conduct. He pleaded guilty, records show.
Givens' sister told the Observer on Wednesday that family members suspected her brother's killing was connected to the November fight. But the men charged in the killing were not part of the fight and Mulhall said the incidents don't appear related.
Victoria Givens stood alone Thursday in the west Charlotte coin-operated laundry she owns, shortly after she visited a funeral home to identify her son's body.
She said he was not in a gang and was angry others are claiming he was. She also lamented that he would never see his 8-month-old daughter grow up.
"I was in church praying the night my son was killed," Givens said. "God was the only thing that gave me the strength to go see the body today."
The men charged with killing Givens are both felons with extensive arrest records.
Court records show both of them have been charged with possessing a gun on school grounds. Chapman was convicted of taking a .45-caliber pistol to a sports activity at E.E. Waddell High School in October 2002.
Watson was accused of taking a gun to East Mecklenburg High in June 2004, but the charge was dismissed.
Neither man is currently enrolled in a Charlotte-Mecklenburg school, school officials said.
Chapman also has been convicted of possession of stolen goods, possession of a gun by a minor, breaking and entering a motor vehicle, and nine counts of auto theft. Watson has been convicted of possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Both men were in the Mecklenburg jail with no bond late Thursday.
Cynthia Fuller, a Givens family friend, visited the laundry late Thursday afternoon and sifted through old photographs of the slain teen. She recalled how he liked to dress in suits and often made friends laugh.
She called media reports about his death misleading.
"An arrest record is not who he was," Fuller said. "It's not that black and white."
“Nobody's perfect. We're all just one step up from the beasts and one step down from the angels.”