Solving the crimes of several deadly shootings over Labor Day weekend is proving more difficult for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police now that Chief Kerr Putney says gangs may be behind the crimes.
Dr. Shannon Reid studies gang violence as an assistant professor at UNC Charlotte, and she says the shootings fall into that type of activity.
"That is where you get kind of these back and forth really quickly over short period of time,” said Dr. Reid.
In just one weekend, police say 12 people were shot, five killed, including a seven-year old boy.
Chief Putney says that child was an innocent bystander, celebrating a birthday party when he was caught in the crossfire.
"You know we don't want to lose any lives, but it definitely feels especially tragic when it's a child,” said Reid.
Although tragic, Reid says the spike in crime doesn't mean gang violence is getting worse.
"A bad weekend doesn't necessarily mean a bad year, which doesn't mean Charlotte's now way more dangerous than it was,” said Reid.
She says smaller street gangs may be responsible for this weekend's shootings, but it still won't be easy for witnesses to come forward.
"It's a very fearful community,” said Reid.
Reid says although it's harder to crack cases related to gangs, she hopes someone will step up, even anonymously, to help police catch whoever is responsible.
"Doing that will help save lives, hopefully and help bring justice to the victims,” said Reid.
CMPD has increased the reward to $10,000 for any tips leading to an arrest in the deadly shootings.