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Gangbangers battle it out in uptown Charlotte, 1 dead, police arrest 70.


From Charlotte Observer…

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.

The trouble comes 15 months before Charlotte hosts the 2012 Democratic National Convention – which likely will ensure close scrutiny of what happened.

The core of DNC events will take place at Time Warner Cable Arena and the Charlotte Convention Center. They are blocks from the shooting scene and the Charlotte Transit Center, where police in riot gear were sent early Sunday to disperse large groups, according to Charlotte Mecklenburg police spokesman Officer Robert Fey.

Former Mecklenburg County commissioner Dan Murrey, chairman of the DNC’s local host committee, said Sunday he’s confident that appropriate security measures will be in place for the convention.

“I have a lot of confidence that over the course of the next year of preparations – between local, state and federal law enforcement – that downtown Charlotte will be very safe and secure for the convention effort,” Murrey said.