The news came from Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney in a news conference on Friday morning, in which he announced that Rayquan Borum had been charged in the death of Carr, 26, a protester. The police also released news of the arrest on Twitter:
That hasn’t ended social media theories that Borum was actually shot by a police officer during the chaotic scene, and there are eyewitness accounts to bolster theat perspective. Some continue to accuse Charlotte police of a cover-up.
However, there were also eyewitness accounts that pointed to a civilian shooter, and the chief says there’s other evidence too.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Police Chief Says Borum Was Caught by Studying Videos
Many people were recording videos in the unruly crowd that had gathered outside the Omni hotel when Carr was shot. Cameras were also whirring from nearby buildings, making it quite a photographed scene. According to Fox News, Carr “was shot as police in riot gear massed to bar protesters from storming an upscale downtown hotel.”
Putney said videos were instrumental in identifying Borum as the shooter. Watch Putney’s news conference on the arrest above. According to Fox News, “Putney said surveillance footage supplied by buildings in the area helped identify the suspect.”
Mecklenburg County jail records show that Borum is being held on charges of first-degree murder and possessing a firearm as a felon. The records say he was extradited from out of state and arrested at 6:35 a.m. on September 23.
2. Borum Has a Criminal History Including Arrests for Weapons Offenses & Drugs
Borum is no stranger to the jail. He’s been booked there before on accusations ranging from possessing a firearm as a felon to carrying a concealed weapon to drug offenses.
Jail records show he was accused in 2015 of resisting a public officer, possessing a stolen firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm by a felon, possessing marijuana paraphernalia, and possessing marijuana.
According to North Carolina Department of Public Safety records, Borum is a felon. In fact, even though he is listed by the prison system as being only 21, he has a felony offense from 2011, the system records say. Records say he received a suspended sentence but then his probation was revoked, and charges are listed as breaking and entering and larceny.
The disposition of the 2015 accusations is not clear from the Public Safety Department records, which only list the 2011 case.
However, The Charlotte Observer newspaper says “Borum served about three months in prison for larceny and breaking and entering charges from Mecklenburg County, and was released in 2012…He also faces at least two pending weapons charges in Cabarrus County.”
The revelation that police think Borum killed Carr comes just after Charlotte’s mayor called Republican nominee Donald Trump “presumptuous” for saying that drugs played a role in the city’s protests, according to CNN.
3. Eyewitnesses Disagreed on Whether a Police Officer or Civilian Shot Carr
Social media filled with eyewitness accounts to the shooting, and some of them insisted that a police officer shot Carr, perhaps with a rubber bullet. These accounts came from people as varied as a minister and defense attorney.
For example, a minister wrote that Carr died standing between ministers and they think police shot him. “I saw the man go down on the pavement,” said Minister Steve Knight of Mission Gathering Christian Church in Charlotte, in a statement posted on Twitter. “It was an ambush. The victim was shot while he stood between two ministers, and we believe he was shot by police.”
A defense attorney also posted that she thought police killed Carr.
And a man named Todd Zimmer posted a photo of the bloody pavement and wrote on Facebook: “I was there when CMPD shot a protestor in the head tonight. I am convinced that police shot this person with a rubber bullet or a tear gas canister. I stood over the injured person while folks tried to revive them, tried to keep folks back. I have captured video of police firing into the crowd seconds before the person fell. I didn’t want to post about this, but my city is lying about what happened tonight. Let the record show.”
However, other eyewitnesses reported a civilian killed Carr. Ryan James wrote in the Daily Beast, “Around 8:30 p.m., a civilian fired a pistol indiscriminately into a crowd of dozens outside the hotel, turned and ran, leaving a man laying on the ground in a pool of blood on the sidewalk…The shooter, a black male, was standing at the intersection of East Trade and South College streets with the weapon still aimed. He turned and ran.”
And Esquire Magazine quoted a homeless man named Jerome as saying he thought the slaying might have occurred because rival gang members were in close quarters in the crowd. That magazine article says other street preachers said they didn’t think police killed Carr.
Such mixed accounts led Putney to say Thursday that authorities were investigating whether an officer had, indeed, shot Carr. However, now police say that they believe a civilian, Borum, shot Carr.
Some on social media are not convinced. Reaction to his arrest immediately became politicized, with others questioning whether the Black Lives Matter movement would protest and rally over Carr’s death as they had over Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was shot and killed by Charlotte police, sparking the unrest. Police say that Scott was armed with a gun he wouldn’t drop, although family members dispute this point.
4. The Aftermath of Carr’s Shooting Was Captured in Dramatic Video & Photos at the Scene
Professional photographers and amateur videographers combined to create a lengthy documentation trail of what happened in the moments after Carr was shot.
On his Facebook page, Carr said he had attended a community college and was in a relationship. He also had previous run ins with the law.
One dramatic video captured the unruly crowd and attempts to help Carr. Photos showed civilians trying to render aid. Warning: The photos are graphic. You can see them here:
5. Carr’s Mother Had Called for a Peaceful Protest Before & After Her Son Was Shot
Carr’s mother, who uses the name Ann Carr on Facebook, had posted a comment on a friend’s Facebook page urging a peaceful protest hours before Justin was shot. She repeated that desire as he lay in the hospital.
Several hours before Carr was shot, his mother wrote on another protester’s Facebook page, “Make sure it doesn’t turn violent! We also need to come together as a community and stop killing and hating on each other! They see us killing each other so they think it’s ok for them to do it too! There’s a difference between protesting and acting a damn fool! Do your thing Tre and start this great movement!”
After he was shot, she wrote, “I really appreciate the love & support from my Family & friends! Im overwhelmed by so many checking on is! I’m not able to respond to everyone so don’t think I don’t appreciate You! Please continue to keep my Family in Prayer especially my other Son’s & my Mom! Will keep you posted! Trying to hold it together aint easy! But I know I’m not alone! Love yall!”
She also wrote: “Don’t know how to feel! Don’t know what to feel! Just feeling numb! Not going to ask why me just need Prayer for my baby boy right now! As I lay by his side and Praying real hard because my baby is fighting for his Life! Please if your gonna protest do it peacefully! My baby was shot in the head for no apparent reason! I don’t know who did this but Lord please bring my baby through this & give me strength cause those of you that know me know how close me & my Sons are!”
Carr was initially in critical condition and life support before dying Thursday.
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