Up to 100 shots fired just before final CIAA game in Charlotte

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police at scene of shooting investigation.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police at scene of shooting investigation.

The city’s role as host of the CIAA tournament took a bruising this weekend, when two violent incidents occurred within six hours and just a couple blocks apart from each other.

In the first, as many as 100 shots were reportedly fired early Saturday evening in uptown along the 600 block of North Caldwell Street.

It happened about 6:30 p.m. near the intersection of North Caldwell Street and 8th Street, which is a part of town filled with residential buildings, including the First Ward Apartments. The timing was just a half hour before the men’s championship game of the CIAA was to start at the nearby Spectrum Center.

Multiple apartment units and vehicles were struck by bullets, officials said in a statement released Sunday morning, but there have been no reports of injuries.

Investigators were canvassing the area Sunday for witnesses. “Several dozen” shell casings have been found at the scene, police said.

It’s believed the shooting took place in the roadway and did not occur in a nearby apartment complex or any tented events. Some social media posts were saying a “street party” was going on in the area at the time.

Regarding Saturday evening’s shootout, several national lifestyle websites – including The Source, XXL, Complex and BET – reported that one of the targets was a rapper who goes by the stage name Young Dolph. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police declined to say whether he was in fact involved.

Dolph reportedly performed at an unofficial CIAA-related party at Cameo Charlotte nightclub later that night. Attempts to reach his booking agent were unsuccessful.

In a separate incident, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer and an N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement officer were hospitalized with minor injuries just after midnight Sunday morning, after being struck by a suspect fleeing the scene of an investigation on North Caldwell and Sixth streets in uptown, CMPD officials said.

Police have charged Jerel Manvil Rhoades, 37, with two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer causing serious injury, two counts of felony hit and run, carrying a concealed weapon, driving while impaired, reckless driving and hit and run.

Neither incident was related to any official CIAA-sanctioned event going on in uptown Charlotte, police said.

However, this marks the third year in a row that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have been forced to contend with gun-related violence during the final weekend of the CIAA tournament.

Last year, three men in town for the CIAA tournament were arrested after they fired dozens of bullets into two vehicles and an uptown hotel and were found in possession of an AK-47.

No one was reported injured in that incident, which happened around 4:40 a.m. on a Sunday near the Hyatt Place hotel. The bullets hit a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and a red SUV parked behind it in front of the hotel lobby. Two of the three men charged in the case were from Memphis and the third was from Elgin, S.C.

In 2015, a woman was shot in the head but not seriously injured at the Label nightclub during tournament weekend. And two people were stabbed at the Oasis Tent on College Street. One man was charged in that stabbing.

Anyone with information on Saturday’s incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.