A 23-year-old North Carolina man who was angry that a teen girl would not date him fatally shot her 51-year-old father and her 15-year-old girlfriend at a Charlotte home, police and family members say. The suspect, John Bocek. also shot himself and later died at a local hospital, according to police. Bocek had a lengthy criminal record and was wanted by police at the time of the double shooting.
Bocek killed Matthew Chaplin and Jenna Hewitt, a friend of Chaplin’s 16-year-old daughter, Kate Chaplin, in the double-murder suicide, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department said. Bocek was wanted by police on charges he assaulted Chaplin’s daughter during a previous incident, according to police. She was also home at the time of the incident and called 911 for help. She was not injured.
Kate Chaplin told WCNC-TV she met Bocek online in January and he was obsessed with her. She told the news station Bocek wouldn’t take no for an answer when she refused to date him.
“He tried to date me multiple times and I declined. And I blocked him, I would not see him and that upset him,” Kate told WCNC-TV. She was dating Jenna Hewitt, she told the news station. They were classmates at Ardrey Kell High School.
“My girlfriend was very involved in school. She did lacrosse and swimming, and she loved her family and loved her pet cats. She was an avid Harry Potter fan,” Kate Chaplin told WCNC-TV. Chaplin’s father, Matthew, was raising her and her older sister, Zoe Chaplin, as a single dad after her mother, Donna-Sue Chaplin, died from an illness in 2016.
“He was really trying to be mom and dad to make up for the loss and tragedy that we’ve already had to endure,” Zoe Chaplin told WCCB-TV. She said her sister was also extremely close to Hewitt. “It’s such a rarity to have those types of relationships, and I think Kate is going to have to deal with two very big losses in her life,” Zoe Chaplin told the news station.
“My sister and I are holding up. We’ve suffered a lot of tragedy and a lot of loss throughout our lives. Not just this incident. And so, if anyone is going to know what to do and how to be strong and how to navigate this, it’s going to be my sister and myself,” Zoe Chaplin told WECT-TV.
Here’s what you need to know about John Bocek and the Charlotte double murder-suicide:
1. Bocek Shot Through the Back Door of the Home, Killed Matthew Chaplin & Then Fatally Shot Jenna Hewitt While She Was in Bed With Kate Chaplin Before Killing Himself, Kate Says
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department said the double homicide and suicide occurred early Sunday morning, February 24, at a home in the 11400 block of Glenn Abbey Way in the South Division, according to a press release. Police received a 911 call from Kate Chaplin at 3:53 a.m. The 16-year-old told the dispatcher, “two people have been shot in my home.”
“South Division Officers responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call for service. Upon their arrival, officers located a male and female inside of the residence with apparent gunshot wounds,” police said in the press release. “They were both pronounced deceased on scene by Medic. Their identity will be released pending family notification. A third person was located with a gunshot wound and was transported by Medic with life-threatening injuries.”
The victims were identified as Matthew Chaplin, 51, and 15-year-old Jenna Hewitt. The shooter, who also suffered a gunshot wound, was identified as John Bocek, 23. Police said he died at a local hospital after being transported there.
Kate Chaplin, Matthew Chaplin’s 16-year-old daughter, knew Bocek, who she met online in January. Kate Chaplin had previously accused Bocek of assaulting her and police were looking for him at the time of the shooting. She said he was jealous and angry that she would not date him. Jenna Hewitt, Kate’s girlfriend, was sleeping over at the home at the time of the shooting.
“He shot through the back doors and came in. Then came into my father’s room, shot him and then came into my room. I was asleep in my bed with my girlfriend, Jenna,” Kate Chaplin told WCNC-TV. She and Hewitt tried to hide. “We ran into the closet, he then proceeded to shoot her and then shot himself. I ran over to my father’s room. I grabbed his phone and called police. And I ran out of the back door that was shattered with glass.”
Police said Kate ran to a neighbor’s house.
“I do believe that his intent was to do exactly what he did,” Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Major Cam Selvey told reporters. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
“All too often what we are seeing are people trying to rely on firearms to handle their problems,” Selvey said.
2. He Was Wanted on Charges That He Assaulted Kate Chaplin 5 Days Before the Shooting
Kate Chaplin told WCNC-TV she met John Bocek on Instagram in January. Five days before the shooting, on February 19, Kate Chaplin said Bocek assaulted her. She reported him to police and a warrant was issued for his arrest, but police had not been able to find him.
According to WSOC-TV, Bocek broke into Chaplin’s home, assaulted her and stole her cellphone. Police obtained warrants charging him with robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Major Cam Selvey told reporters, “I’ll be honest, with somebody who does something like this, there’s no telling what was in that man’s mind. With someone who had the issues that Mr. Bocek was apparently afflicted with, I can’t begin to comment on what was in that man’s brain. I can’t imagine what these families are going through.”
He said he’s not sure if Chaplin knew about Bocek’s criminal record when she met him. “I don’t know if she had any idea of what his history is. … When you talk about cyberstalking, especially when we look at the ages of some of our victims, that is something that’s fairly common so I would say be careful of who you meet online be careful of how you establish those relationships.”
Selvey said they had been trying to find Bocek.
“They were actively working on trying to find him,” Selvey said. “The information that I’ve read from some of our case reports was the victim in that report didn’t necessarily know where he was living. I think he may have moved from his original location.”
3. Bocek Was Convicted of Assaulting & Threatening to Kill a Woman in 2017 & for His Involvement in a Burglary Ring, but Called Himself ‘Teflon John’ Because Many Charges Against Him Were Dropped & He Spent Only a Little Time Behind Bars
John Bocek had a lengthy criminal record and had been arrested on dozens of charges in Mecklenburg and Union counties in recent years, records show. But he spent little time in jail despite convictions in some of those cases. In 2017, Bocek was arrested on domestic violence charges and was also the subject of a restraining order by a woman who said he assaulted her and threatened to kill her.
“The defendant has hit me physically multiple times,” the woman said, according to an order of protection obtained by NBC Charlotte. “He has (tried) to run me over. He slammed my head against a car door busting my eyelid open and middle of my forehead, put a bag over my head (until I was losing) breath completely to kill me. Held me at gunpoint and put me in the trunk for four hours while beating me, taking me into the woods and beating me with it and kept telling me I was going to die. Dragged me out of the car by my hair and beat me.”
The 19-year-old woman said Bocek called her at least 17 times and threatened to murder her. In that case, Bocek pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and cyberstalking. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail. He was originally charged with assault on a female, cyber-stalking, threatening calls and breaking and entering to terrorize/injure.
“That was a domestic case and, at some point, he had gone to that house, committed a break-in and communicated some threats,” Major Selvey told reporters.
According to court records, Bocek had faced more than 40 charges in Mecklenburg County in recent years, but 30 of those charges were dropped by prosecutors. He was also charged in Union County on drug and weapons offenses, including possession of a firearm by a felon, a charge he was scheduled to face in court on February 25.
Bocek was also arrested as part of a burglary and break-in ring arrested in Union County in 2013. They were accused of breaking into more than a dozen cars and two homes. He was sentenced to probation on the felony charges. In 2012, Bocek was convicted of drug possession and also sentenced to probation, records show.
On Instagram, Bocek called himself “Teflon John.”
“bocek …all charges dismissed for lack of evidence. #teflonjohn #ANOTHERONE,” he captioned the photo, a selfie of himself outside of a courthouse.
In 2018, Bocek served 9 months in jail on a probation violation.
4. He Posted on Instagram, ‘Murder Is Okay,’ ‘Your Days Are Numbered’ & ‘I’d Shoot You in the Face Before I’d Ever Stab You in the Back’
Bocek had posted a serious of troubling Instagram photos in recent months. On February 21, he posted a selfie with the caption, “I based my dreams upon my lifestyle therefore all I have is nightmares.”
On February 21, he posted a meme of Bugs Bunny holding a rifle with the caption, “I’d shoot you in the face before I’d ever stab you in the back.”
On January 24, he posted a screenshot of a Facebook post that read, “Some of y’all better be glad I already got a record.”
On December 21, he posted a “quit snitching” meme featuring Robert DeNiro and the words, “You think I forgot about what you did?? Hell no!!! Just to let you know, your days are numbered. See you around f*cker.”
Another meme he posted in 2018 read, “Murder is okay.”
5. Zoe Chaplin Told a Local News Station, ‘Someone 3 Years Older Than Me Has Taken Away a Whole Part of My Life That I Will Never Get to Experience’
Zoe Chaplin told WSOC-TV, “Someone three years older than me has taken away a whole part of my life that I will never get to experience.”
Zoe and Kate Chaplin already dealt with the loss of their mother in 2016. Matthew Chaplin’s Facebook page shows the girls and their father smiling in a family photo taken in early February. Matthew Chaplin was an IT consultant at CC Consulting in Charlotte. He grew up in Michigan, graduating from Lahser High School, before attending Michigan State University, completing his degree in telecommunications in 1990.
“He really stepped in to be both parents multiple times in our lives but, especially, when we lost our mother,” she told WSOC. She told the Charlotte Observer, “My father loved my little sister and I (love) my little sister more than anything in the world.”
Chaplin, an Appalachian State University student, told NBC Charlotte, “M<y family is extremely close. I'm actually going to take her for a couple of days to get away and give her time to just be."
She said of her sister and Jenna Hewitt, classmates at Charlotte's Ardrey Kell High School, "I have never known two girls that young to be as mature as they are, and also love one another as much as they did."
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Major Cam Selvey told WSOC-TV, “When I look at Ms. Hewitt, she’s younger than both of my kids. I can’t imagine what these families are going through, and it affects us here at the police department.”
Ardrey Kell Principal David Switzer said in a statement, “When tragedies like this happen, I know everyone in our Ardrey Kell community will join together to support each other. We grieve for everyone involved and the Ardrey Kell and district staff are here to support our students and each other. We will have counselors on campus and additional supports in the coming days.”
Switzer added, “Please make sure to pay close attention to your students, watch for changes in behaviors and let them know help is available. Reach out to me or any member of the Ardrey Kell staff and let us know if you think anyone may need support. We stand together in moments like these and I will be in touch again soon. Thank you for your support of each other and our Ardrey Kell school community.”