A sign honoring a NC high school student — accused of pointing a gun at police before he was shot and killed — is causing some controversy.
Shortly after 2pm on Christmas Eve Thursday, a fight apparently broke out between two rival groups, at a north Charlotte mall.
Police said the altercation escalated when Daquan Westbrook fired a gun. Officer Thomas Ferguson, who was working off-duty inside the mall, heard multiple shots and ran to the scene. Witnesses say Westbrook turned and pointed his gun at the officer. Ferguson fired his weapon, killing Westbrook.
Crossroads Charter High Dean, Adrian Sundiata, said he received a “mass request” from students to post a message honoring the teen after he died. His decision to display the digital message outside the school, is now being questioned.
“It’s wrong, it’s dead wrong,” local Dwayne Higgs said.
Standing outside the mall this week Higgs and others, who remember the chaotic scene at the Northlake Mall, said the sign sends the wrong message. “That’s not what you want your kids to be seeing,” Higgs said.
Students and faculty at Crossroads remember the 18-year old rapper as an honor-roll student who always had a smile on his face. However , there was also another side to him. A local news station uncovered Westbrook was arrested 11 times since 2013.
In an exclusive interview with Channel 9 News, Westbrook’s parents said he was carrying a gun to protect himself after his brother was shot over Thanksgiving weekend.
Internal Affairs at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating the fatal OIS.
Ferguson has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Meantime, Dean Sundiata said he’s sensitive to the community’s concerns about the violent mall scene and his students’ feelings. “At Crossroads, we are family. With all of our children, we try to be supportive of them in life, and unfortunately in death,” he said.