Jasmine Thar Pictured Above
The mother of a Charlotte teenager killed in an unusual shooting in eastern North Carolina called Friday for prosecutors to press criminal charges.
At a news conference uptown, Carletta McNeil said she believes her daughter, Jasmine Thar, was the victim of a racially-motivated crime.
“I will not be satisfied until justice is served,” McNeil said.
Jasmine, 16, a sophomore at Ardrey Kell High School, was shot Dec. 23 in front of a house in the small town of Chadbourn, where she was visiting with her godmother and a friend.
As they walked toward a vehicle for a shopping trip about 11 a.m., a single bullet fired from a home across the street struck all three, killing Jasmine and injuring the others.
According to a police report, the shot came from a Remington Model 700 rifle owned by James Anthony Blackwell, 23. Blackwell told police he had taken the rifle from a case and it fired without him pulling the trigger.
The Remington Model 700, one of the most popular bolt-action rifles, is the subject of dozens of lawsuits, alleging a defect causes the weapon to fire without a trigger pull.
Chadbourn police took Blackwell to the station, but did not arrest him and later released him.
On Friday, FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch confirmed the agency’s civil rights unit is investigating.
Blackwell is white and Jasmine and the two other victims, Treka McMillian, 42, and Jah-mesha McMillian, 17, are African American.
Jasmine’s family has said Columbus County District Attorney Jon David told them he asked the FBI to intervene because of evidence investigators found in Blackwell’s house.
David declined comment, saying only that he will make a determination about charges based on the law.
In Charlotte, McNeil and community activist John Barnett spoke to reporters near a statue of Martin Luther King in Marshall Park.
Barnett, who is helping Jasmine’s family, drew parallels between the handling of the Chadbourn investigation and the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. In both cases, he said, authorities have dragged their feet.
“It’s like déjà vu,” he said. “It’s happening all over again.”
McNeil said her family plans to meet prosecutors Thursday to discuss the investigation.
Jasmine’s memory, she said, “will not let me sleep until justice is served.”