Updated 07/13/2012 05:01 PM
Charlotte police hunt for suspect in neighborhood homicide
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Belmont Community was once plagued with drugs and crime but now it is being renovated and the neighborhood is slowly improving.
It is part of a neighborhood revitalization project that has been in the works for several years.
"There repairing and fixing up houses in this neighborhood," said business owner Roger Stewart.
It's been 27 years since Stewart opened his corner grocery in the community. Stewart said he is pleased with neighborhood improvements but was shocked to learn a man was shot and killed while making repairs to his home.
"I've never heard of nobody getting killed that's here repairing houses in this neighborhood. We haven't had murders in this neighborhood for awhile," said Stewart.
Police say Matthew Hawkins and his girlfriend were working on a home on East 17th Street Tuesday when someone robbed them. The girlfriend was not hurt but Hawkins was shot in the face.
According to police, Hawkins died Tuesday night.
"In my 27 years in the Belmont Community, this is one of the most bizarre murders I've ever seen," said Stewart.
Stewart says he knew the victim.
"He came to my store, he purchased goods from my store," said Stewart.
However, the business owner is confident that whoever committed the crime does not live in the Belmont Community.
"We get a bad stigma even though we are not the worst in the neighborhood. Crime is pervasive," said Stewart.
Contractors working in the area call it a senseless crime.
"People shouldn't have to lose their life over nothing. You do not have to go out to rob people for $20. Just go out and do hard honest work," said contractor Carl White.
White was hired to renovate an apartment building just a few blocks from where the shooting happened. But like many people in the community, White said he won't let crime make him live in fear.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.