Crowd gathers at vigil for NC teen suspect who was shot at mall

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — A crowd gathered in front of a building off Monroe Road in Charlotte Sunday night to mourn the death of Daquan Westbrook, the suspect killed in a Christmas Eve mall shooting.

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Westbrook, 18, was involved in an altercation in front of the Journey’s shoe store in the Northlake Mall Thursday, according to police. An off-duty officer responded to the scene when gunshots were fired.

Previous story: NC teen rapper identified as armed suspect shot dead inside mall

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said in a news conference, Westbrook pointed a gun in the direction of the officer before being shot. The suspect was pronounced dead by Medic.

Many spoke about Westbrook’s life Sunday and felt the teen suspect had been unfairly portrayed in recent media coverage of the mall shooting.

Jail records show the suspect has previously been arrested 11 times since 2013. Friends and family members explained that the media should also highlight the suspect’s positive life achievements. Friends say he was an up-and-coming rapper called “Donkey Cartel” in the Charlotte area.

“When reporting, there should be equal, not just a biased one-sided report of someone’s life,” explained Corey Muhammad, a representative of the Nation of Islam. “I didn’t know him personally, but from what I’m finding out he was on the path to doing many good things.”

Many speakers at Sunday night’s vigil asked the youth in attendance to put down their guns and help stop the violence in the community. Muhammad said he wants to play a part in that effort.

“I hope to be able to work with our community to help prevent any senseless violence from happening that leads to unfortunate circumstances like right now.”

Westbrook’s father was also in attendance at Sunday night’s event. He spoke at length about his son in front of the crowd and pleaded with others to end violence in Charlotte.

He declined to do an interview with WBTV.

Copyright 2015 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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