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3 charged after shooting, chase involving police

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

Three men have been charged in connection with an alleged Sunday morning shootout with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers just north of uptown.

The shooting set off a car chase that ended in Cabarrus County with the men taken into custody.

No one was injured.

Police said Monday that they had charged Ramar Crump, 23; Warren Lewis, 26; and Jamel Lewis, 24. Each was jailed on charges of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill; two counts of assault with a firearm on a government official; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Officer Jessica Wallin, a spokesperson for CMPD, said the investigation is continuing.

One of the officers involved in the shootout – Anthony Holzhauer – was involved in a fatal shooting last year. He was cleared after an investigation by the Mecklenburg District Attorney’s Office.

State prison records show Crump was sentenced to prison in 2006 on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon in Stanly County. He also has a history of arrests on a number of felony breaking and entering and larceny charges.

Jamel Lewis served about 6 1/2 years in prison, according to state records, for a robbery conviction in Stanly County. He has at least two other previous arrests, according to state prison records.

Warren Lewis was convicted in 2009 in Stanly County on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, prison records show.

Around 4 a.m. Sunday, officers were summoned to North Tryon Street near Sylvania Avenue by a 911 caller who saw “the occupants of a vehicle sitting inside the vehicle loading guns,” according to a police news release.

Holzhauer and Officer David Sussman arrived first. As the officers got out of their patrol cruisers, the men in the car opened fire, police said. The officers returned gunfire, and the suspects sped away in their vehicle.

Officers radioed a description of the vehicle, and a short time later other officers saw it on North Tryon Street.

The officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but the suspects didn’t stop, according to the CMPD release, and they led officers on a chase that ended in Cabarrus County. The Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office helped to stop the vehicle, CMPD said.

Three people in the car were taken into custody, and then to CMPD headquarters for questioning. Police said they recovered two guns from the vehicle. Homicide and assault with a deadly weapon detectives are leading the investigation.

Holzhauer and Sussman have been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation into the shooting, which is standard procedure when an officer fires his gun in the line of duty. The probe from Internal Affairs will look at whether department policies and procedures were followed.

CMPD said Holzhauer has worked for the department since 2010, and Sussman began in 2001. Both are assigned to the Metro Division.

On July 2, 2012, Holzhauer was involved in a shooting in the Biddleville neighborhood just off Beatties Ford Road. He was not charged with a crime.

Police said then that Michael Deangelo Laney, 28, was shot in the head by Holzhauer after he tried to pull out a gun while wrestling with another officer.

Frederick Laney told Qcitymetro.com, a website covering Charlotte’s African-American community, that his cousin was pinned to the ground when he was shot in the head.

“They had him,” Frederick Laney said. “He didn’t never pull no gun out. They had no business shooting him, plain and simple.”

Police Chief Rodney Monroe defended Holzhauer’s actions shortly after the shooting. He said Officer Ryan Shields and Laney got into a wrestling match. The officers saw Laney reaching for a handgun, the police chief said, “from either his waistband or his pocket.”

Shields called for help from Holzhauer, Monroe said.

“In fear for their lives, Officer Holzhauer discharged his firearm, striking Mr. Laney in the right temple,” Monroe said.

Anyone with information about Sunday’s shootout or chase is asked to call police at 704-432-TIPS. Information also can be given to Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.

Staff writers April Bethea and Steve Lyttle and WCNC-TV contributed.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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