CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Concord Police say a second teenager has been charged with murder in connection to a shooting that killed a 13-year-old girl and left two other teenagers injured Saturday at Concord Mills mall.
The 15-year-old, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody Friday and charged with first-degree murder and felony riot. Police say the teen is an acquaintance of 18-year-old Dontae Milton Black, who was arrested Wednesday on the same charges, with additional charges pending.
Police said they are still trying to identify other individuals that may have been involved.
Black faced a judge Thursday on the charges. He could face the death penalty or life without parole if convicted.
The shooting happened around 8:40 p.m. outside Dave & Buster’s on Concord Mills Boulevard. Aveanna Propst, of Concord, was shot and died at the scene. Two boys, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, were shot and injured.
Investigators say Propst nor the two two boys shot were involved in the altercation that led to the shooting and were not Black’s intended targets. Police say the teen boys are “lucky to be alive."
A man wearing a red and white checkered hoodie was seen on surveillance shortly before the shooting, displaying a firearm in the Concord Mills parking lot. Witnesses said a short time later he fired the gun in the direction of Dave & Buster’s.
After the arrest on Wednesday, investigators say they believe Black was in a verbal altercation with a 16-year-old boy in the mall. When the group of teens were asked to leave, Black went out one entrance and the 16-year-old left through Dave & Buster’s because he feared Black had a gun.
When Black saw the 16-year-old exiting Dave & Buster’s in the parking lot, police say he began firing in his direction, striking Propst and the two other teens who were not involved. Propst was pronounced dead at the scene.
“She was peaceful. She was always caring, kind, nice,” Propst’s friend said of Aveanna.
Propst was an 8th grader at A.C.E. Academy, expected to graduate from the charter school this year.
“It is hard trying to make them understand the reality of this world and what is happening,” says Johnny Brown, who’s grandson goes to A.C.E. Academy. “It is so sad to experience what has happened. The loss of this lady just 13 years old. It really resonates and hits home.”
Brown says trying to explain to his grandson what happened to Propst, hasn’t been easy for the families at school.
“At a point where they should be experiencing the fun things of life, and to have to sit down with them and explain to them the loss of life, it is hard,” says Brown.
A.C.E academy says its offering counselling and support for families and students who might need someone to talk to and help process after losing one of their schoolmates.
“The support level has been tremendous and the outreach in just helping us internalize everything that has unfolded in the past few days,” says Brown.
The academy says its letting students paint the rocks outside the school and its planning memorials within the school to honor Propst.
Family and loved ones gathered Friday night at a candlelight vigil for Aveanna.
Concord Police released a statement shortly after Black’s arrest, sending their condolences to Propst’s family.
“The Concord Police Department continues to extend their deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Propst,” read a release from the department. “Concord Police also would like to thank the other law enforcement agencies, especially the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, that assisted in the investigation and those in the community that offered information and support.”
Concord Mayor William C. Dusch released a statement Wednesday about the shooting and arrest as well:
"The Concord City Council and I join many in our community thankful for this morning’s arrest related to last weekend’s shooting incident at Concord Mills. The senseless violence claimed the innocent life of 13-year-old Avenanna Propst, physically injured two other bystanders, and caused immeasurable trauma and suffering to victims’ families. Many people who witnessed this incident, their families, and indeed the entire community feel sorrow and anger about what happened. We thank the Concord Police Department for their efforts, as well as the many partner agencies assisting with the immediate and ongoing response. We particularly thank the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team members, who took 18-year old suspect Dontae Milton-Black into custody this morning without incident. We also mourn for the suspect’s family and what this incident means for the many people who hoped for so much more in the life of a young person they cared about.
"Saturday was a hard day in our City with this incident following another unrelated shooting hours before, resulting in the death of Derron Jordan. We ask the community to continue providing information to police that will lead the the arrest of murder suspect 16-year-old Omarionne Tymyrre Hudson, so that justice will also prevail in this case.
“As a community, we must go forward with continued compassion for each other, and a willingness to work together to address the issues in our society that cause such unnecessary violence.”
Police say Propst’s cousin, 31-year-old Derron Jordan, was killed in a shooting just hours earlier in a Concord neighborhood. The two shooting are not connected.
Investigators say that a photo circulating on social media showing a person in a red and white Coca-Cola hoodie, which looked similar to the suspect in the surveillance photos, was not connected to the crime or suspect in any way.
Community members are signing a Change.org petition that was created after violence at the mall in 2017. Organizers want Concord Mills to enforce a curfew for young people.
Other area malls already enforce curfews on Fridays and Saturdays including North Lake Mall, Eastridge Mall and Rock Hill Galleria. Those curfews apply to shoppers under 16 and 17 years old, which would not have kept 18-year-old Dontae Black from Concord Mills. Individual businesses also make their own rules. According to the Dave and Busters website, guests under 18 without a guardian must exit by 11pm.
We reached out to Concord Mills regarding their gun policy and the potential of adopting a curfew.
In a statement they said:
“Safety at Concord Mills is our top priority. We are Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Safety Act certified – the country’s highest safety designation. We have a number of proactive security measures in place, both seen and unseen. We conduct multiple safety drills each year, one of which is always an active shooter drill. Every tenant is strongly encouraged to participate in these drills. Every tenant also receives and confirms receipt of a Tenant Emergency Guide and, as part of our Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP), we ensure they each have an up-to-date emergency plan in place. We also maintain a close working relationship with the Concord Police Department and have a collaborating police sub-station on-site to help provide and maintain a safe environment at our property.”
Black is being held in the Cabarrus County Detention Center with no bond.
Anyone with further information about the case is asked to call 704-920-5000 or contact Cabarrus County Crime Stoppers at 704-93-Crime.