In today’s headlines: Weekend of violence linked to gangs

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WEEKEND CRIME UPDATE: CMPD Chief Kerr Putney addressed a possible cause of Labor Day weekend’s streak of violence, during which 12 people were shot in six areas of Charlotte. Putney attributed much of the violence to retaliatory shootings between at least two gangs. At this time, those gangs remain unidentified and police are treating the shootings as if they are connected.

The response:

– Putney encouraged people with information to step forward, adding that rewards for Crime Stoppers tips have been doubled.

– CMPD brought officers in from their days off to strengthen patrols in all divisions, with officers in special units like gangs and firearms included.

[Related: Gangs of Charlotte.]

SEED POLICE: Meet Charlotte resident Ernest Allen, the new director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Seed Testing and Regulatory Division, aka the “seed police” for USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service. He and his team have been operating in Gastonia since 2003. In accordance with the Federal Seed Act, which requires accurate labeling and purity standards for seed traders and distributors, the Gastonia office monitors the accuracy of seed companies’ labels.

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DEATH BY WEST NILE VIRUS: NC state health officials announced a death from the West Nile virus infection. This is the first case of the illness in the state this year, and state officials have yet to release details about the death, including where the victim lived. They do, however, encourage residents to be wary of mosquito-borne illnesses (like West Nile), which peak in NC August-October.

936West Nile Lab

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ERICA PARSONS: Two Rowan County residents called in K-9 Specialties leader Robert T. Larson of Illinois to search for missing teenager Erica Parsons of Salisbury. Parsons went missing in 2011, but her adopted brother didn’t report her missing until 2013, and her whereabouts are still unknown. Though a Labor Day weekend search turned up no clues, Larson is not finished with his attempt. A $50,000 reward is still being offered for information about Parsons’ disappearance.

Photos by Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer, Erin Hull/AP, Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

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