Chaos in Charlotte Leaves One Dead, 70 Arrested

I was in Charlotte, NC the night before this incident happened. My wife and I were having a very pleasant dinner with Chris Barnhart in that city and even the night before this mayhem – which the Charlotte Observer is calling “unrest” – I admit to being concerned for my safety. I’m not sure what the reciprocity agreements are like but I will never travel to Charlotte again unless I’m armed.

Anyway, basically Charlotte was turned into a war zone by gangs who were basically able to overwhelm the heavy police presence there:

One person was fatally shot and another wounded early Sunday after several hours of trouble in uptown Charlotte that ended with police in riot gear trying to break up crowds and making 70 arrests.

The shootings took place shortly after 1 a.m. across 3rd Street from the Hilton hotel, two hours after Food Lion Speed Street had closed. Antwan Terrell Smith, 22, was shot in the head and died at the scene. Durante Kavon James, also 22, was shot in the leg and taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was in stable condition late Sunday.

The gunfire followed reports of unrest – which police say could be gang-related – centered largely around the Charlotte Transit Center between 4th and Trade streets. The charges were one of the city’s largest mass arrests in memory.

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Early Sunday, groups of 50 or more people “began confronting each other” and refused to leave as police closed in around the transit center, Fey said.

Police arrested 70 people, including 15 juveniles, he said. Most arrests were for disorderly conduct, fighting, assault and impeding traffic.

The melee was one of the worst in Charlotte’s uptown since violence broke out among large crowds after a Fourth of July fireworks show in 2006. In the years that followed, police cracked down heavily on uptown revelers during major events, arresting 169 people during July 4 celebrations in 2007.

At the time of the incidents, officers said the troublemakers were flashing gang signs, challenging officers and other people and attempting to block sidewalks and streets, Fey said.

Police said large crowds – as many as 30,000 people – gathered in and around the transit center after Speed Street ended at 11 p.m.

On-duty officers from CMPD’s Central Division worked the Speed Street event, along with off-duty CMPD officers working for the Speed Street producer, Fey said. After disruptions broke out, members of CMPD’s Civil Emergency Unit, dressed in riot gear, were called in to help manage crowds. The unit is trained to respond to large public disturbances and catastrophic events.

Police tried to separate the trouble from Speed Street, the NASCAR-related event that draws thousands to the center city to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Gods help us if we get a hurricane Katrina style storm in Charlotte because there is an army of lawless thugs less than two hours drive away from us. Stay out of Charlotte if you can – the place is a ghetto and it’s getting worse every day.

h/t Crime in Charlotte

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