Editor’s note: Christina Gorman works in the advertising department at the Charlotte Observer. She lives in a condominium complex off Old Concord Road in the University City area. Her complex sits right next to The Village at College Downs, the complex where a black man, Keith Lamont Scott, was shot and killed by police Tuesday night. Later that same night, hundreds of people gathered in the area and protested into the early morning.
Christina shared her experiences from Tuesday night and Wednesday with us. Below are her words, written Wednesday afternoon, and minimally edited for clarity.
This is an area filled with students from UNC Charlotte and families who have lived here their whole lives. It’s normally calm and peaceful. Most of the people surrounding me are 35-65 years old with the occasional college students.
I was at work uptown Tuesday when my neighbor texted me around 4:30 p.m. saying she just got home and there were cops and helicopters everywhere, and she was not sure what was happening. About 10 minutes later she stated there was a shooting involving a black guy and a cop. I was not sure how true it was but it did not take long before it went viral.
Trying to get home Tuesday night was a bit scary, to say the least. I simply could have followed the helicopter lights to lead me home if i wanted to. I attempted to go down the streets leading up to my place but police had blocked off everything surrounding the complex so i had to turn around. I could hear sirens and helicopters, people in the streets.
I stayed the night about 10 minutes away with some friends.
I followed the news online. I watched a few minutes of the live television broadcast when I got to my friend’s place Tuesday night. It felt like I was watching a movie. I’ve seen things like this happen in other places around the country, but it’s a much different feeling when it’s in your city, especially so close to home.
I felt scared, nervous, helpless. I enjoy where I live and who I am surrounded with and it’s a scary thought to know such violence can happen so close to home.
When I went back the next morning, I really was not sure what to expect or whether I would be able to get into my place. It was much calmer.
All day Wednesday i heard nothing but helicopters circling. I watched the news off and on, and could see reporters less than a few feet away from my parking lot. I peeked outside every few hours and i could see cops blocking off and patrolling the streets.
I have always been the type that doesn’t judge situations that do not directly involve me. I don’t really know what happened Tuesday. I think it’s a terrible situation when anyone loses their life in such a way.
I do want to express that how much I love this area. I have lived in the University City area in Charlotte for 11 years now and I have had my condo for three of those years and I would never guess anything like this would ever happen.
It is an awful feeling to not know how you can help or what will happen next.
Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer