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Gang Affiliation Debated in Slaying of UNC Student

Posted March 11, 2008
Updated March 12, 2008

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— As Chapel Hill police follow up leads from surveillance photos in the slaying of UNC-Chapel Hill Student Body President Eve Carson, debate over whether the photographed suspect is gang-affiliated lingers.

The photos show the only customer in a convenience store at the time an attempt was made to use Carson’s debit card at an automated-teller machine, Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian J. Curran said.

The man in the photo also appears to be the same person who was driving a sport-utility vehicle in bank ATM surveillance photos, Curran said.

The SUV driver was wearing what is thought to be a ball cap with a vintage Houston Astros logo. Curran said Monday, the hat could be a sign the suspect is a gang member.

"This certainly is one possible scenario," Curran said, but he added, "just talking about it would be speculation."

Hunter Glass, a former detective with the Fayetteville Police Department, is considered to be a "gang expert" and has looked closely at the Carson suspect photos.

"I believe that it's a very strong possibility, given the young man's age and the picture ... that he is associated with a gang,” he said.

The Houston Astros logo is sometimes associated with a particular gang, mainly to disrespect the symbol of another gang," Glass said.

"It's disrespect to that five-point star, that 'H' on top of it,” Glass said.

Glass said the hat turned slightly to one side could also indicate a gang affiliation, "which in the gang world is representing one side or another."

Carson’s body was discovered early March 5 on Hillcrest Circle, about a half-mile from campus.

Glass said that even if the suspect is in gang, it is unlikely Carson's death was gang-related.

"This case, I firmly believe is a random act of violence, by some very violent young men,” he said.

Investigators have been talking to gang and community service units at police agencies around the region. Chapel Hill police have consulted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Bureau of Investigation and local law-enforcement agencies.

Curran said that Carson's killer is thought to have had access to her SUV, which was found a day after her death about a mile from the crime scene. Police would like to hear from anyone who saw a blue, 2005 Toyota Highlander on March 5 or 6. The SUV's Georgia license plate is AIV-6690.

Investigators still have no motive in the shooting death of the 22-year-old Athens, Ga., native and urged anyone with information that could help the investigation to call police at 919-968-2760 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. Callers can remain anonymous.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said he hoped the $25,000 reward offered by the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees would encourage someone to come forward with information.

68 Comments

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  • Just Ice Mar 12, 6:40 p.m.

    My heart goes out to Eve Carson and her family. Eve and her family have been in my thoughts and prayers from the moment I heard about this terrible tragedy. I simply cannot imagine such a senseless loss of life or a greater act of inhumanity. I hope and pray her family has the strength and support to get through this unimaginable ordeal. I know they will.

    Now, I have a suggestion. Since law enforcement has not ruled out the possibility that this is a gang-related crime, let me offer a suggestion irregardless of this evil, hateful crime. Contact your elected officials (it's an election year and I'm contacting mine) and demand that our government pass legislation to classify violent gangs as terrorist organizations. Then declare all out war on these domestic terrorists. They are killing innocent citizens, their numbers are growing, and they're getting more violent every day. Our existing laws and punishments are not severe enough to deal with this threat to our way of life.

  • blackdog Mar 12, 6:24 p.m.

    ...many here debate race or percentages, but the real problem is morality.

  • 1whoknows2007 Mar 12, 5:55 p.m.

    I think that there may be some merit to the claim of gang involvement for these two individuals who are charged with the murder of Eve Carson. For those of you who have doubt about the presence of gangs in the Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill area or who do not know a lot about them, consider visiting the website http://www.ncgangcops.com/. The Site is sponsored by the North Carolina Gang Investigators Association. It gives a lot of information about the gangs in general, ways they "rep" their side and other signs of gang activity. If you look closely there are pictures of the surrounding areas and the gang grafitti. For those of you with youth in your lives that you care for (kids, grandkids, etc.), take a minute and look it over.

    I do think that there is a good chance that this murder may have likely been an initiation for the 17 yr old who is charged. That is often a way to prove your allegiance and become a full member of the gang and not just an associate.

    Just my .02 cents.

  • VTFlyGuy Mar 12, 5:37 p.m.

    yankee..i wish my heart was as big as yours. maybe you see good in all mankind and i applaud you for that. reality and the truth cannot be biased (well..it actually can but not in this case).

    you mean if a read rather than watch tv the statistics will change. answer me this....what are some solutions to these problems?

  • YankeeinNC Mar 12, 5:24 p.m.

    wow yankee. there is a great deal of truth in your statements but maybe you need to watch more tv. check out the other stories on WRAL right now. or better yet check them next week or next month. different stories, same players.

    I think that is the problem. Some of you watch too much TV and do not read enough. If you just watch what the media feeds you, no wonder you are so obviously biased.

  • VTFlyGuy Mar 12, 5:19 p.m.

    wow yankee. there is a great deal of truth in your statements but maybe you need to watch more tv. check out the other stories on WRAL right now. or better yet check them next week or next month. different stories, same players. in the professional and upscale world i live in, i don't see 12% participation. however, i see more than double and triple that number when it comes to problems.

  • YankeeinNC Mar 12, 4:03 p.m.

    seriously, some of you need to look up the phrase 'race card' and find out how it came about. It is way too over-used. It is really annoying and just makes me want to talk about race even more.

  • YankeeinNC Mar 12, 4:01 p.m.

    Why do people group black people into some monolithic group? Black people are as diverse as any other group. Gang involvement is rooted in economics. How many upper middle class or middle class youth are gang bangers? Seriously, some of you act as if there are no black college students, no black Ph.Ds., no black doctors, actors, inventors, lawyers, etc. Stop watching so much tv and get out into the larger community and actually look around.

    Just like any other poor urban community, black urban communities have a problem. There is no denying that. Unfortunately, there are just more black people in poverty and poor youth are more susceptible to influences like gangs.

  • YankeeinNC Mar 12, 3:51 p.m.

    rmgirl, because the evidence gives probable cause to believe that black men did the crimes.

    just like if there is a pedophilia ring or serial killing spree or crazy college student shooting on campus, must be white men, right?

  • wa4mjf Mar 12, 3:28 p.m.

    rmgirl, because the evidence gives probable cause to believe that black men did the crimes.

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