CMPD Claims Man Shot by Police Officer Fired First
A 33-year-old man was in critical but stable condition on Friday afternoon after being shot while allegedly exchanging gunfire with a CMPD officer on Thursday, in what the department says was an act of self-defense by the officer. The incident occurred just after noon on Thursday outside the Budget Inn on Reagan Road in north Charlotte.
According to a CMPD report, police observed Shelton Smith at the Budget Inn around that time and approached him because he matched the description of the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred at the nearby Royal Inn on Tuesday. Police say that as they approached Smith he fled on foot, and during the foot pursuit fired a gun at officers. It was then that officer Trey Hinton shot the man.
A video taken at the scene shortly after the shooting shows police and MEDIC treating the victim before he was eventually transported to a local hospital. In the video, the man filming repeatedly claims that Smith did not have a gun, though it’s unclear just how close he was to the incident. Addressing media from the scene on Thursday, CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said officers did recover a gun and will be turning over body-camera and nearby surveillance footage of the incident to the State Bureau of Investigations.
Hinton was hired by CMPD in September 2018 as a lateral transfer from the Kannapolis Police Department (KPD). While with KPD in 2017, Hinton was involved in a similar incident during which he exchanged fire with and shot a suspect in a hotel while serving a warrant for a probation violation. The suspect was not killed in that case, either.
When Smith is released from the hospital, CMPD reports he will be arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault on law enforcement with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by felon in connection to Thursday’s incident. He will also be charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with Tuesday’s robbery, as well as served with an outstanding warrant for communicating threats.
Two Financial Tech Companies Announce Charlotte Expansions
Two economic development announcements this week will bring more than 1,000 jobs to Charlotte, as Credit Karma and USAA both announced major expansions in the city.
On Tuesday, Credit Karma announced that it will expand its existing Charlotte operations into the company’s East Coast headquarters, adding 600 new jobs and investing $13 million. Since its founding in 2007, the consumer technology platform best known for providing more than 4 billion free credit scores to consumers has grown its customer base to more than 110 million members, offering services including identity monitoring, checking accounts, saving accounts, and help with applying for credit cards and shopping for loans.
The company will expand its existing Ballantyne office, which currently employs 187 people.
On Thursday, another fintech heavyweight, USAA, announced it will open a new office in South End, employing about 750 people on site or in a hybrid model. The company will lease six floors in the 10-floor Square at South End building, located on the former site of Saucemans BBQ restaurant at the corner of West Boulevard and Hawkins Street.
Bank of America Announces Full-Capacity Opening
As COVID-19 metrics continue to decrease and things return to a sense of normal, Tepper Sports & Entertainment president Tom Glick said Monday that Bank of America Stadium will operate at 100% capacity when events resume later this summer.
Though there will not be separate sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans, and temperature checks are no longer required, the Carolina Panthers will continue with many of the health and safety plans implemented during the pandemic, including enhanced cleaning policies, hand sanitizer stations throughout the stadium, disinfecting robots, and mobile ticketing.
According to the latest data from MCPH, released Friday morning, there had been 112,708 total cases of COVID-19 and 974 deaths related to the coronavirus in the county to that point, an increase of 484 cases and six deaths since the same time last week.
According to more in-depth data for cases that had occurred through Wednesday, the county had seen a 3% test-positivity rate over the previous week and an average of 78 laboratory confirmed infections per day, both decreasing trends compared to the previous two weeks. On average, 91 people were hospitalized on any given day due to COVID-19 over the past week, also a decreasing trend.
MCPH also reported on Friday that 45% of the total population of Mecklenburg County (500,202 residents; a 1.5% increase) had been at least partially vaccinated as of Wednesday, while 39.7% of Mecklenburg County’s total population (441,095 residents, a 1.8% increase) have been fully vaccinated.
Hunt for Spree Killers Ends in South Carolina
A weeklong manhunt ended on Monday when police found Tyler Terry, suspected of four recent murders in South Carolina and Missouri, in a wooded area of Chester County near Richland, South Carolina. Deputies found Terry just before noon on Monday after he had apparently spent the previous seven days wandering through the woods. Terry was found barefoot and with his clothes torn, covered in bug bites.
Terry is suspected in the murders of four people across the two states between May 2 and May 15: Eugene Simpson, 33; Thomas Hardin, 35; Barbara Goodkin, 71; and Sergei Zacharev, 58. The manhunt began after a high-speed pursuit on May 17, during which Terry allegedly fired at officers while Adrienne Simpson of Myrtle Beach drove. After Simpson crashed, she was arrested while Terry fled.
Adrienne Simpson has been charged with two of the murders Terry has been charged with, including that of her husband, Eugene Simpson.
At the time Terry was found, 300 law-enforcement officers were involved in the manhunt. Residents near the crash site had been urged to stay inside. Terry appeared before two South Carolina judges on Tuesday, both of whom ordered him held without bond, as is required for murder suspects by state law. He will appear before a York County judge and a St. Louis County, Missouri, judge at a later date.
Two Murders Put Total at 41
Two men were killed in separate incidents this week, bringing the total number of illegal killings to happen in Charlotte this year to 41.
Shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday, police responded to a shooting call on Charger Court in north Charlotte and found 26-year-old Rashawn Pitt suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to the hospital, where he later died. Police have arrested and charged a 23-year-old man with Pitt’s murder.
Just after noon on Thursday, police responded to a call on Barrands Lane in far-southwest Charlotte and found Curtis Hopper dead with apparent signs of trauma. During the investigation, detectives determined that the murder occurred on South Weldon Street in Gastonia and Hopper’s body had been moved to the home on Barrands Lane. They identified a 23-year-old suspect and arrested him. He has been charged with first-degree murder, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, robbery with a dangerous weapon and concealing a death.
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