Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones said Thursday he’s confident about the city continuing to host the weeklong CIAA basketball tournament, despite this year’s event being marred by gunfire Saturday night.
This is the fourth consecutive year there has been violence associated with the tournament. But city leaders are so far standing by the CIAA, which moved its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015. The CIAA and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority have three years remaining on a six-year contract to host the tournament, meaning the event is scheduled to be in Charlotte through 2020.
Jones said this is the 12th year the CIAA has been in Charlotte and that it’s “part of the fabric of the community.”
“I feel very comfortable and confident in the relationship,” said Jones, who became city manager in December. “We will always have lessons learned.”
On Monday, Mayor Jennifer Roberts said it’s too early to even say whether the shootout in First Ward – where police estimate as many as 100 shots were fired – was connected to the tournament.
But the Observer’s news partner, WBTV, reported Wednesday that police believe the shootout was related to people in the entertainment industry, presumably in the city for events associated with the tournament.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said people in at least two vehicles started shooting at each other on North Caldwell Street, according to WBTV. A police source said a minivan that crashed at the scene was involved in the shoot-out and that officers recovered firearms in it.
“I would just say it was more than… there was some high-powered – at least one we believe was used and an assortment of others,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Estes to WBTV.
Estes added that CMPD is “exploring the possibility that this involved some sort of groups related to the entertainment industry.”
In 2016, police arrested three men after they shot 40-50 bullets, some from an AK-47, into cars and a condominium/hotel tower on the last night of the tournament.
After that, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and CMPD met several times with the CIAA and promoters to make the tournament safer.
Jones said after this year’s tournament there is another opportunity to do a “look back.”
Jones said he hasn’t spoken to CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams since the tournament ended.
City officials believe the tournament is responsible for more than $30 million in direct spending. The city, county and CRVA give the CIAA $2 million to hold the event in Charlotte.