18-year-old Charlotte high school senior Charney Watt had a lot going for her. She was a cheerleader at Olympic High School as well as a track star, and had just been accepted to college. But all that’s moot now, as she was shot and killed by her boyfriend on Sunday in a domestic dispute.
Gary Daniels, also 18, is charged with Watt’s murder. She was found dead of a gunshot wound inside his house, so it looks like pretty much a slam-dunk case against him. Domestic violence situations between teenagers often go unreported, and now a young woman with a bright future has lost her life.
WSOC in Charlotte says the argument was probably about the couple’s recent breakup:
Charney’s family said they had dated but broken up and were arguing about getting back together.
“It’s not a cause. It’s not a reason. It’s just that we need to learn how to deal and cope,” Simpson said.
Watt’s friends and classmates have been leaving messages on a Facebook group created in her memory. Watt is described as “always smiling and joking” and the “loudest cheerleader” on her squad. One of the main themes people brought up: if you’re in a violent relationship, find a way to get out of it.
That’s also a theme in WSOC’s story:
Marage Blakeney from the Domestic Violence Advisory Council said, “Actually one of the highest ratings of domestic violence are between teens.”
Although Blakeney said that too often teens aren’t included in the conversation. “A lot of people think it’s really cute to say ‘my boyfriend or girlfriend is very jealous and don’t want me to talk to other people.’ But that is the beginning stage of domestic violence,” she said.
WCNC talked with Watt’s grandmother, who said she just wanted to make things work out with Daniels:
“She was in love,” said Shirley Rogers, Watt’s grandmother.
Watt was a track star and a popular cheerleader in and out of uniform.
“No matter what happened in her life, she never gave up,” said Rogers.
Watt’s desire to never give up may have cost her life. Rogers says Watt’s had returned with Daniels.
It’s a sad story, and it goes to show how little attention is paid to violence in teenage relationships. Which is odd, because who could possibly be less equipped to deal with the emotions of a turbulent relationship? How did Daniels get to a point where shooting someone he supposedly loved was a viable option? Did Watt tell others about her rocky relationship? Did others not take her seriously? There’s a lot of questions to be asked here, but we’ll probably never know any of the answers.