Author Topic: Such A Shame  (Read 3217 times)

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Offline Dianna

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Such A Shame
« on: May 20, 2007, 08:57:10 PM »
Man, 25, found slain in cemetery
Some say shooting shows growing crime in Elmwood, Pinewood

KYTJA WEIR AND CLEVE R. WOOTSON JR.
kweir@charlotteobserver.com
 
Willie Vanderick AshmoreA 25-year-old man's body was found early Saturday morning lying amid the graves of a sprawling uptown Charlotte cemetery.

Willie Vanderick Ashmore had been shot, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said, and they were still looking for his killer late Saturday.

To some, the slaying was the latest -- and most serious -- cause for concern about crime and neglect at the Elmwood and Pinewood cemeteries just northwest of uptown's skyscrapers.

"We can honestly say it saddens us, but it doesn't surprise any one of us," said Mark Palmer, director Historic Preservation of Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery.

For years, Palmer said, he has complained about vandalism and homeless encampments amid the burial grounds. He's especially been concerned about tipped-over tombstones, damaged statues, broken mausoleum windows, graffiti and litter.

The site is the city's second-oldest public cemetery, and it's also the largest plot of open green space in the center city. Rabbits, hawks, squirrels and songbirds live in its tree-filled 72 acres.

Homeless people sometimes sleep behind tombstones or on the steps of mausoleums. It's also a popular place for joggers and dogwalkers. Neighbors use it as a cut-through.

Ashmore lived just blocks from the cemetery, on the opposite side of the Brookshire Freeway from the Ninth Street entrance.

His family said he graduated in 2000 from West Charlotte High, where he played drums in the marching band. He attended N.C. A&T State University for two years before returning to Charlotte, they said.

He was working at Omega Meats in Concord. And, they said, he had a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.

In September, Ashmore had completed a six-month prison sentence, N.C. Department of Correction records show. He had two felony convictions connected to drug dealing, N.C. records show. His family declined to comment about the charges.

It's not clear when he was killed. A passerby called police about the body around 7:15 a.m. Saturday, police said.

But a woman walking dogs said she'd seen a man lying face down there about 8:30 p.m. Friday. She said she assumed he was homeless and taking a nap.

Another woman who jogged there around 6:15 that night said she didn't notice anyone.

Police said they are hoping to talk to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area over the past couple of days.

Palmer said he hopes the city will now consider posting a security officer there 24 hours a day. Patrol cars already cruise the cemetery regularly, with one rolling through around 9:30 a.m. Friday.

City Council member Andy Dulin said he was saddened to hear the news and said the council's public safety committee would likely discuss the issue soon.

Dulin's great-grandfather is buried there. He said he's enjoyed the cemetery many times since he was a child and never felt unsafe there.

"It's a wonderful asset to the community," Dulin said. "It's one of our jewels."

By midmorning Saturday, police vans and yellow crime scene tape encircled an area along the southeastern fence near the railroad tracks.

But by afternoon, all signs of a crime were gone except for a small dark spot of blood in the grass. A bird sat atop a series of worn graves dating from the 1890s as a man walked a dog and a jogger continued his routine.

Have a Tip?

Police ask anyone who might have seen anything at the cemetery over the past two or three days to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Tipsters may remain anonymous and receive up to $1,000 rewards.

About the Cemetery

The Elmwood and Pinewood cemeteries first opened in 1853 as separate cemeteries -- Elmwood for white families, Pinewood for black families and a third area know as Potter's Field for those who couldn't afford a plot. The city's first African American councilman, Fred Alexander, led a campaign in the 1960s to remove a chain link fence separating the black and white burial grounds. It now covers 72 acres.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2007, 09:00:25 PM by Dianna »
"Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success." - Lao Tzu

Offline bestofour

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Re: Such A Shame
« Reply #1 on: Nov 03, 2013, 03:16:16 PM »
Dianna, I don't know why you posted this but I don't think it's ever been solved.

Offline Dianna

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Re: Such A Shame
« Reply #2 on: Nov 04, 2013, 08:35:37 PM »
I posted it because of it being a cemetery, Sheri, and I thought it was a shame that someone was murdered there and that there had vandalism committed. Wish it had been solved by now.

"Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success." - Lao Tzu

Offline bestofour

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Re: Such A Shame
« Reply #3 on: Mar 18, 2014, 01:25:16 PM »
I went back and looked this up and came to a website of 100's of unsolved murders.  That would drive me crazy.  How can you ever have closure if you don't know what actually happened to your loved one?

Offline bestofour

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Re: Such A Shame
« Reply #4 on: Mar 25, 2014, 11:16:27 AM »
Lately I've been watching 48 hours and they say if you don't have a lead within 48 hours of a homicide then it will likely go unsolved.

Offline Dianna

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Re: Such A Shame
« Reply #5 on: Mar 28, 2014, 08:55:23 AM »
How can you ever have closure if you don't know what actually happened to your loved one?

You don't get closure if you don't know or if you have doubts about the death of a loved one. I hope that one day that they can solve this... :(

"Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success." - Lao Tzu