If you witness a crime, here’s what to do
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article cited court records that listed Feb. 6 as the trial date for Memphis rapper Sammie “Blac Youngsta” Benson on weapons charges. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, a spokeswoman for the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office said a pre-trial readiness conference is scheduled for that day in the case.
A pre-trial readiness conference is scheduled for Feb. 6 in Memphis rapper Sammie “Blac Youngsta” Benson’s weapons case in Mecklenburg County Criminal Superior Court.
The conference comes nearly two years after police said 100 bullets were fired in uptown Charlotte near the end of the 2017 CIAA men’s and women’s college basketball tournament.
The 28-year-old rapper faces five counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling/moving vehicle and one count of conspiracy to commit discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling, court records show.
Citing court records, the Observer previously reported that Benson’s trial was set for Feb. 6. On Wednesday, Meghan Cooke, spokeswoman for the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, told the Observer that the pre-trial conference is scheduled for that day.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys attend such conferences, where the presiding judge reviews the case to ensure “no outstanding issues remain” before the case goes to trial, according to Mecklenburg County’s Criminal Case Management Plan established in 2011.
If all such issues are resolved, a trial date is then scheduled for within 3 months, according to the plan.
At about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2017, bullets were fired in the 600 block of North Caldwell Street, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department report.
Bullets hit multiple homes and vehicles, although no one was hurt, according to police.
The bullets were fired about 30 minutes before the final game of the CIAA tournament at the nearby Spectrum Center, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time. Police later recovered about 100 spent shell casings from the road, fired from various guns and a rifle, the Observer reported.
Police also found two bullet-ridden SUVs on Parkwood Drive. The tires on both SUVs were blown out, and the front and rear windows of one of them were shattered, the Observer reported.
National hip-hop-related websites reported that one of the targets was Young Dolph – another Memphis-based hip-hop artist. He was in Charlotte that night for an unofficial CIAA party/concert at Cameo Charlotte nightclub, the Observer reported. At the time, CIAA commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said the shootout was not connected to the tournament.
Dolph, whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr., tweeted “U loose” next to a laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emoji less than 18 hours after the shootout, the Observer reported. He later bragged that the black SUV he was riding in at the time had been custom-bulletproofed for $300,000.
Videos also showed Blac Youngsta and others taunting and threatening Young Dolph while holding guns. The videos were apparently made before the shootout, the Observer previously reported.
In May 2017, TMZ broke the news that Benson had surrendered to police after CMPD filed charges against him.
The CIAA made news this week after announcing it will pull its annual men’s and women’s basketball tournament from Charlotte in favor of Baltimore from 2021 through 2023.
Staff Writer Michael Gordon contributed.