Suspect named in Charlotte shooting death of mayor’s brother-in-law

The Charlotte ObserverDecember 7, 2013 

— Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have named a suspect in the Friday shooting death of Donald Everett Gist Jr., the brother-in-law of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating Arthur Givens, 40, who is wanted for murder in the slaying of Gist, the brother of Benjamin’s wife, 5th Circuit Court Judge DeAndrea Benjamin, and the son of Columbia attorney Donald Gist and his wife, Adrienne R. Gist.

Gist, 38, was shot to death in the parking lot of the Queens Mini Mart north of Charlotte’s Uptown.

Charlotte police did not release a motive for the killing. The preliminary investigation indicates the shooting wasn’t a random act of violence, as the shooter and the male victim appear to have known each other, police said.

Charlotte police did not release a motive for the killing. And it’s not clear why Gist, who was from Columbia, was in Charlotte.

Records show that Givens in the late 1990s served about three years in a North Carolina federal prison for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Gist had a pending case in Columbia after he was charged with breach of trust, which is an extension of larceny, in 2011.

Gist is survived by his wife and son.

Mayor Benjamin was in Aspen, Colo., for a leadership-in-governance event when the incident occurred. He planned to be back in Columbia by Saturday afternoon, according to aide Michael Wukela.

The Gist and Benjamin families released a statement late Friday night:

“The shock and sadness of past few hours have been difficult to bear. We will remember Donald as he was: a loving husband, father, son and brother. He is survived by his wife, son, sister and a host of loving relatives. We will continue to lean on our faith in Almighty God and each other as we try to make sense of this tragedy.

“We thank you all for the tremendous outpouring of support and we ask for your continued prayers in the days and weeks to come.”

The statement also expressed confidence in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department as they continue to search for those responsible.

Medics pronounced the victim dead at the scene, police said.

The shooting happened at about 1:15 p.m., and Beatties Ford Road at LaSalle Street was temporarily closed, police said.

Police canvassed the area looking for witnesses.

Anyone with information is asked to call (704) 432-8477 and speak directly to a homicide unit detective, or call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600.

Staff writers Cassie Cope, Rachael Myers Lowe and Adam Beam contributed.

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