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A mother seeks closure in son’s ’08 killing

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Beverly Byrd, mother of 2008 homicide victim Eric Byrd, joins CMPD homicide detective Bill Ward in asking the public for help in solving the five-year-old case. (Photo: Glenn H. Burkins for Qcitymetro.com)

Eric Byrd, 22, was shot and killed Jan. 12, 2008, during what police described as a robbery attempt in east Charlotte. (Photo: Courtesy of Beverly Byrd)

Five years after her only son was shot and killed in east Charlotte, Beverly Byrd is asking the public to help police catch the man responsible.

Byrd drove from her home in Augusta, Ga., to attend a press conference Saturday at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. At times speaking through tears, she said losing her son was difficult.

“I plead to any and everybody. If you know something about Eric’s death, if you know something about Eric’s murder, please contact the police department,” she said.

Eric Byrd, who was 22 at the time, died Jan. 12, 2008, during what police described as an attempted robbery. He had gone in a car with three other men, including a cousin, to buy marijuana at the Lake Point Apartments near Albermarle Road.

According to police, the gunman first robbed the driver, who had gotten out of the car. The suspect then tried to rob the three men who had stayed behind. When they refused, he opened fire, striking all three.

Eric Byrd died at the scene. The other two victims survived the shooting.

The survivors told police they did not know the shooter and was unable to give a detailed description. They described the gunman as a young black man.

The case has since been assigned to retired homicide detectives Gary McFadden and Bill Ward, both of whom work for CMPD part time. At Saturday’s press conference, Ward said the investigation identified possible suspects but that authorities need more evidence to press charges.

“We need just a little bit of help from somebody out there that might know a little bit more about it that would be beneficial for us in clearing the case,” he said.

Byrd spoke of her son as a good young man who sometimes used marijuana. He was working for a mortgate company at the time of his death.

“He was a respectful child," she said. "He was great, and he was my gift.”

Bryd said her son was working to earn a GED at Central Piedmont Community College and dreamed of being a meteorologist. He hoped to one day chase tornados, she said.

Beverly Byrd said she has forgiven the man who killed her son but would like to ask him one question: Why?

She said her son’s memory is with her constantly and travels with her in a peculiar way. According to Byrd, the radio in her car, which frequently played Kanye West songs when Eric was with her, now stops on its own to send her a message.

“When Eric died, Eric was 22 years old," she said. "The radio would stop playing and flash E22. It still does that.”

Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the Eric Byrd killing. To leave an anonymous tip, call 704-334-1600.

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October 8, 2015
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