Friend recalls life, tribulations of Beecher Terrace homicide vi - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Friend recalls life, tribulations of Beecher Terrace homicide victim

LMPD officers responded to the 400 block of West Court at the Beecher Terrace housing complex on Sunday afternoon. (Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News) LMPD officers responded to the 400 block of West Court at the Beecher Terrace housing complex on Sunday afternoon. (Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News)
Charles James Hill (Source: LMDC) Charles James Hill (Source: LMDC)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Word travels fast when gunfire takes a life in Beecher Terrace.

A friend of the family was in a food mart five blocks away Sunday afternoon when he learned Charles James “CJ” Hill, 33, had become the Metro's 92nd homicide this year.

"They told me 'you can't get home,'” the friend told WAVE 3 News. "'There's a body in your yard.’" 

Monday, a bouquet and mementos marked the spot in the 400 block of West Court, near Building #39, where Hill was found shot.

Tear-stained faces filled in the blanks for those who hadn't been there when officers arrived.

"I just got a glimpse of it," the friend said. "It was nothing I needed to see."

PREVIOUS STORY: Beecher Terrace homicide victim identified

The friend wouldn't allow WAVE 3 News to show his face, nor would he reveal his name. 

"I've been hearing a lot of things (Hill) had been into," the friend said. "I don't know what it was. Me (sic) and (Hill's mother) had been talking about...what are you going to do with him?"

Court records indicate Hill's troubles date back to at least 2001, with charges of robbery, theft and criminal trespass. He would face charges of burglary, assault, intimidating a witness and possession of controlled substances.

He was exactly one month free of home incarceration for burglary, fleeing and evading, according to Louisville Metro Corrections.

"With subject's history of narcotics usage, and it appeared subject was purchasing narcotics, Officer called subject and ordered him off the porch," Hill's arrest report reads. "Subject forced himself past resident against her will. Resident admitted that he wasn't allowed inside. (Hill) then opened rear window, jumped out and attempted to flee."

Hill may have had family living in Beecher Terrace, but he grew up in nearby Village West - what now is called City View, the friend said.

"Sometimes trouble comes in, sometimes it lives here," the friend said. "But this is the first killing we've had here in more than a year."

LMPD's former VIPER Division, now known as the 9th Mobile, gets credit for making Beecher Terrace safer by putting a bulls-eye on the open drug dealing that fueled much of the violence, Residents' Association President Marshall Gazaway told WAVE 3 News Monday.

"They've been here, and they've worked on building trust," Gazaway said. "That's helping drive trouble away."

But neighbors said Hill may have lain wounded and bleeding for more than an hour before police were called.

"It's scary, right," Ebboni Johnson said Sunday.” They (the killer or killers) could be watching the body getting taken away."

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A pole mounted security camera offers a bird's-eye view of the street and courtyard where Hill's body was found. Police haven't said whether it provides evidence that a witness might be too afraid to speak.

"Hope it's not just a wake-up call for (Hill's family)," the friend said. "But a wakeup call to all the young guys, you know, change your ways man. Change your life."

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