April 11, 2021
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crime

'It's opened our eyes' | Community calls for change after 7-year-old shot in Charlotte

Brown said there was still daylight when the shooting happened and that Zionna was just feet away from her doorstep.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The grandmother of 7-year-old Zionna who was shot in crossfire last week is revealing new details into what happened to her granddaughter.

Zionna’s grandmother, Chandra Brown, said Zionna was shot in her chest and the bullet traveled through her rib cage.

“This didn’t have to happen,” Brown said. “I mean you saw these kids outside playing, come on now.”Brown said there was still daylight when the shooting happened and that Zionna was just feet away from her doorstep.

“She was down there playing with her neighbor and her neighbor was standing beside her when she got shot,” Brown said.

Brown said her neighbor is younger than Zionna is.

“She was only 4-years-old,” Brown said.

RELATED: 7-year-old shooting victim released from Charlotte hospital

Brown said Zionna ran towards her home screaming to her mother that her chest hurt and that her mother thought she’d been stung by a bee – until she lifted her shirt and saw bleeding.

“She called me frantic,” Brown said. “I jumped out of bed, I think we beat the ambulance to the hospital.”

Brenda Stevenson, pastor of New Christian Outreach Center said she was heartbroken to hear the news.

“It’s opened our eyes,” Stevenson said. “We’ve been sleeping too long. It’s time to wake up.”

Later that evening, a group of individuals were exchanging gunfire on the 1000 block of Marble St. when a 7-year-old girl was struck.— CMPD News (@CMPD) March 31, 2021

Stevenson said it has become clear the youth need more guidance. One of the suspects arrested in Zionna’s shooting was only 17-years-old.

“Now, they don’t fight with their hands, they’re fighting with guns,” Stevenson said. “So it’s time for a change.”

It’s why she’s holding an emergency meeting at the New Outreach Christian Center for the surrounding communities to make an action plan on how to stop the violence.

“It’s time to move,” Stevenson said. “If we want things to be better, then we got to get involved and make it better.”

RELATED: Violence in NW Charlotte area ‘has just spiraled out of control,’ resident says

CMPD said over 110 people have been shot this year, and gun-related assault with a deadly weapon is up over 30% from this time last year.

Stevenson said she wants to focus on the youth.

“We need to keep the youth busy to keep them out of trouble, they need to know that we care,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson said the meeting will address creating programs for youth and working with police to establish a neighborhood watch.

“So we can know the laws and what to look out for,” Stevenson said. “We need to talk. What solutions, what ideas do we have?”

If you’d like to help Zionna and her family, you can contact Chandra Brown at 704-904-4421.New Outreach Christian Center is located at 3900 Gossett Ave, and the event is from 7-8 p.m. There will be free dinner and groceries handed out. […]

features

Carolinas Metro Reds kick off season with Opening Day

The Carolinas Metro Reds seeks to provide the opportunity to develop baseball skills and skills that can be used beyond the game in life.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolinas Metro Reds hit the baseball diamond Saturday for Opening Day of the 2021 season.

“They’re just having an absolute good time out there right now,” said Morris Madden, founder and president of Carolinas Metro Reds.

According to its website, the mission of the Carolinas Metro Reds is to serve disadvantaged youth, providing a safe opportunity to develop baseball skills, leveraging this to teach life skills and support academic progress. The program caters to kids ages 4 to 18, primarily on the west side of Charlotte.

Former Carolina Panther Al Wallace is involved in the organization as a coach, volunteer, and parent.

“It’s not just baseball — it’s mentoring, it’s life skills. It’s, you know, financial literacy,” Wallace said. “It’s so many things we’re trying to teach these young men and young women as they grow up through sports and through competition and through comradery.”

The Carolinas Metro Reds strives to eliminate the financial barriers and limited access that may keep kids in underserved areas from participating in baseball.

“Our main goal is to make sure that these kids get an opportunity to play baseball,” Madden said. “On top of that, we have an academic center here, so we want to try and prepare them for life.”

The Carolinas Metro Reds didn’t get to have a season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday was the first day back on the field in two years for many of the players.

Madden said the program is growing. It had about 80 youth participants signed up last year and has about 200 this year.

WCNC Charlotte and its parent company Tegna provided grant money that helped pay for some new uniforms. Madden said the team is needing more sponsors to step up with more kids signing up to participate.

“We’re not trying to make Major League Baseball players,” Madden said. “We’re trying to make major league citizens.”

MORE ON WCNC CHARLOTTE: […]

local

Tornado Warning in effect for Avery, Burke, Caldwell, McDowell counties until 9 p.m.

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — A Tornado Warning has been issued for Burke, McDowell, and Rutherford counties until 8:15 p.m. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Burke, Catawba, Cleveland and Lincoln counties until 8:30 p.m.
WCNC Charlotte Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich is tracking the latest as the threat moves through the area. 
If you are in these areas, get to a safe space in an interior room far from windows. Make sure you have a way to hear weather updates, whether it’s from a mobile device, a turned-up television, or radio.  […]

crime

CMPD investigating homicide after Tuckaseegee Road shooting

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating a homicide in west Charlotte. Police confirm one person has died. 
Just after 3:20 p.m., Mecklenburg EMS confirmed two people had been taken to Atrium CMC with life-threatening injuries. Just after 5 p.m., police confirmed one person had died. 
The details surrounding the investigation are limited at this time. WCNC Charlotte is working to learn more information. […]

home

No injuries reported after car crashes into popular Stallings-area restaurant

STALLINGS, N.C. — A car crashed into a popular Stallings-area restaurant Friday afternoon, according to the restaurant owner. Thankfully, Steak ‘n Hoagie Shop owner Pete Pappas says, nobody was injured. 
Pappas said the person driving the vehicle was a customer and did not intend to drive into the restaurant.
Video shared with WCNC Charlotte shows the car turning into a parking space, then continuing up the curb and into the building. An alternate angle from security footage shows an employee at the register backing up and calling for assistance after witnessing the car crash in. 
Pappas said the restaurant plans to remain open through repairs, but will only be using the pickup window until further notice as a structural engineer needs to assess the damage done to the building. 
WCNC Charlotte has reached out to the Stallings Police Department for more information.
MORE HEADLINES ON WCNC CHARLOTTE: […]

home

2 killed after early morning fire in Fort Mill

FORT MILL, S.C. — Two people are dead after a fire broke out at a home early Saturday morning.
York County deputies say the scene along Neighbor Lane unfolded around 3 a.m. Fire crews arrived on the scene to find the home engulfed in flames. Crews from Fort Mill, Flint Hill, Riverview, and Tega Cay all responded to tackle the flames.
Once the fire was put out, firefighters found the bodies of both people who were inside when the flames erupted.
County arson investigators, SLED, and the county Fire Marshal’s Office are working to determine the cause of the fire. As of writing, the coroner’s office has not identified the two victims. […]

crime

Witnesses identify man accused of killing another man, deputies say

The accused shooter is in custody after deputies launched an investigation in Iredell County.

HARMONY, N.C. — Iredell County deputies say witnesses were able to identify a man accused of shooting and killing another man near Harmony.

ICSO says they were called out to a scene along Rock Springs Road near Hamlet Road around 8:19 p.m. Friday night. They found a 43-year-old man who had been shot several times and started giving the victim emergency care. However, the victim died on the scene.

Deputies say witnesses told them what happened, identifying the suspect by name and saying he fled the scene on an ATV. More deputies who responded quickly located the 41-year-old suspect at a home along Powell Bridge Road, a short distance away. The secondary scene was quickly secured, and the suspect was detained. The ATV was found, along with a pistol in it. More evidence from both scenes was collected as well.

The suspect was charged with one count of felony 1st-degree murder. Bond was denied for him as well, and the case remains under investigation.

Note: WCNC instituted a new policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.

WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings. […]

home

Donations pour in to keep homeless nonprofit afloat, but more is needed

Watchmen of the Streets says they need at least $20,000 in the next couple weeks to continue operations.

CORNELIUS, N.C. — A North Carolina non-profit is asking for the community’s help in order to stay in operation.

Watchmen of the Streets is a Christian non-profit founded in 2009 consisting of over 50 volunteers. The organization serves the homeless and youth both in the Carolinas and abroad.

The organization made this post on Facebook:

“THIS IS ONE OF THE HARDEST POSTS I HAVE EVER SHARED ON FACEBOOK.” *** It’s up to God and the responsiveness of HIS people right now on whether “Watchmen of The Streets” will continue to exist or have to end our amazing ministry. .

After 11 years strong, the organization said without $20,000 to $25,000 in the next two or three weeks, they will not be able to function financially any longer.

So far, about $8,000 has been raised since the Facebook post, according to Huntersville’s Commissioner Stacy Phillips, who has volunteered with Watchmen of the Streets for years.

“Now we are seeing what happens with the blowback of COVID-19 where people, you know, would donate $5 here or $100 there over the years weren’t able to do that,” Phillips said. “Now there is at least a $25,000 deficit in their fiscal year budget which is critical money.”

Phillips said Choplin’s Steak & Food in Cornelius donated $1,000 in an effort to call on other businesses to step up and help save the nonprofit. 

On the restaurant’s Facebook page, a post read, “I challenge other businesses to donate whatever they can, this mission must push forward.” 

At a time when Mecklenburg County is seeing the number of homeless neighbors rise, Phillips said the nonprofit is crucial to help fix the problem. 

“Watchmen of the Streets is the Batman of nonprofits. They’re in the shadows on the fray of the night taking care of people,” she said. “If you think Mecklenburg County has a serious homelessness problem now, you won’t be able to fathom our community without them and frankly it’s a world none of us, especially our homeless neighbors, should ever live in.” 

In February, Mecklenburg County officials forced more than a hundred homeless neighbors from an encampment just north of Uptown to county-funded hotels. 

On Wednesday, county officials said 178 people are still living in the hotels after 20 people were either kicked out for breaking rules set by the county or left on their own. 

So far, only 3 people have been transitioned to permanent housing. 

County officials said the hotel will be offered for free until June 30. Questions still remain as to where everyone will go after that or if there is a solution to keep everyone from moving back onto the streets. 

Nonprofits, like Watchmen of the Streets, have filled the large gaps in helping Charlotte’s homeless neighbors. 

If you want to help, you can donate online at watchmenofthestreets.com. Checks can also be sent to:

Watchmen of the Streets – Habit MissionsP.O. Box 1580Cornelius, NC 28031

The organization said all gifts and donations are tax-deductible.

Tonight I was sent this sad news. A non-profit that so many of our homeless neighbors get services and help from, is about to be no more. We’ve seen the need for non-profits like them as more than 100 people were moved from tent city. If you can help them – info is below @wcnc pic.twitter.com/q5ccd9qcIl— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) April 2, 2021 […]

coronavirus

COVID-19 hospitalizations start slight rise in NC again, with younger age groups growing share of patient count

COVID-19 cases and positive test rates have stalled in their improvements, and now, patient counts have started to increase once more.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There are new rises in North Carolina’s coronavirus-related hospitalizations right now, and the patients getting care look different than earlier in the pandemic.

“ED visits for COVID-like illness have dropped dramatically for those 65 and older, but it’s actually increasing for those 25 to 44,” Dr. Katie Passaretti, an infectious disease specialist with Atrium Health, said.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services data shows those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s have roughly doubled their share of total hospitalizations since the January surge.

Passaretti noted, within the Atrium Health system, the coronavirus patient census has been increasing over the past week, mirroring the trends seen in the statewide data on the NCDHHS dashboard.

RELATED: ‘There are plenty of spots’ | Mecklenburg County Health officials urge people to get COVID-19 vaccine

The trend starts as the state settles into its latest round of eased restrictions, which kicked in two weeks ago and approaches nearly 30% of adults being fully vaccinated. Prior to the recent rise, hospitalizations had been decreasing for 12 straight weeks.

Meantime, COVID-19 cases have stalled in their progress downward for about a month, and the positive test rate has taken a slight rise from its most recent low of just under 5% to roughly 5.4%.

NC COVID update:-2500+ cases today; largest case count since late Feb.-Percent positive has been on a slight rise; 5.4% of last 2wks.-Hospitalizations are back under 1K, but generally trending up again@wcnc pic.twitter.com/4hbWao6ODk— Vanessa Ruffes (@VanessaRuffes) April 9, 2021

The skew in cases and hospitalizations towards younger age groups is likely prompted by multiple factors, but Passaretti said, playing a role, are the prioritized vaccinations for older groups, along with the growing presence of the more contagious and deadlier B.1.1.7 variant in the Carolinas.

According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, B.1.1.7, also called the U.K. variant, is now the most prevalent form of the virus in the U.S.

With genomic sequencing of the virus expanding, the CDC has begun estimating variant presence in some states, and the latest update, current through March 13, show at least 8% of North Carolina’s cases are from the U.K. variant. However, based on the variant’s trajectory, it is possible that the share is now higher.

RELATED: ‘More accessibility and opportunity’ | Underserved populations getting vaccinated at community clinics

Including the U.K. variant, the CDC has listed five “variants of concern,” known as such due to evidence of increased transmissibility, severity in disease or ability to evade detection or treatment. All five variants of concern have been detected in the Carolinas.

Doctors and health officials say the state is in a precarious position, ramping up vaccinations and easing restrictions. They hope people are quick to get vaccinated and slow to ease vigilance.

“We’re starting to see a hint that we might be starting to see an uptick in our community,” Passaretti said. “We’ve heard about it certainly in other areas of the country, other parts of the world. We may be heading down a similar path.”

Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News’ Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state’s vaccine rollout plan. […]

coronavirus

'It helped me out tremendously' | COVID long hauler says vaccine got rid of lasting symptoms

Doctors say it’s happening more and more often as those with long COVID get a new sense of hope after living with symptoms for months.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As millions race to get vaccinated, some say the vaccines aren’t only preventing COVID-19, they’re also making them feel better.

Several patients who have suffered through ‘Long COVID,’ a long hauler dealing with symptoms weeks or even months after contracting the virus, are finally feeling like themselves again after receiving COVID-19 vaccines. 

Daniel Zaccardelli said he experienced it all himself. 

Before the pandemic, he was a healthy cyclist and mountain biker who was always out on a ride. 

“I’m pretty in-tune with things going on with my body and was in pretty good shape for the season,” he said. 

That was until the Zaccardelli, 38, came down with COVID-19 around Christmas. 

RELATED: COVID-19 hospitalizations start slight rise in NC again, with younger age groups growing share of patient count

“It was a pretty mild case,” he said as he remembered having a headache, a fever, and a slight cough. 

He thought his battle was over in about seven days but noticed his sense of smell was still gone and rides that were once easy, weren’t anymore.

“As soon as I tried to kind of kick it into the extra gear and push myself, that’s when I started noticing something was off,” Zaccardelli explained. 

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The data he tracked on an app during rides showed he wasn’t performing as usual either. 

“Trails I’ve ridden maybe a hundred times — I just struggled to get up the hills,” he added. 

As the weeks and months went on, frustration sank in. 

“You know, am I ever going to be able to ride like I used to,” he pondered? “Am I going to have to find another sport?”

However, after receiving his COVID-19 vaccine, Zaccardelli headed down a more promising path. 

RELATED: ‘More accessibility and opportunity’ | Underserved populations getting vaccinated at community clinics

“One week after my first dose of the vaccine, I broke one of my personal records that I had since 2016,” he said. “To me, that was the sign that I was all the way back.”

Dr. Arin Piramzadian with StarMed Healthcare said it’s something more and more long haulers are reporting. 

“We’ve seen this in about a third of the people who are getting the vaccines who are considered long haulers,” he explained. 

Tonight at 11 on @wcnc — Daniel was a healthy cyclist and mountain bike rider. Then he got COVID, with symptoms lasting long after his diagnosis. A COVID long hauler. But then, something got rid of the lasting symptoms. Find out what, and why doctors are looking into it. pic.twitter.com/qKzkwVWqxo— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) April 10, 2021

Doctors aren’t exactly sure why the vaccines are helping some with long COVID, but research is underway. 

“If it’s fighting the virus, or if it’s just making the body reset itself,” Piramzadian said. “We don’t know why, but if it works, it works.”

Another strange development in the fight against a virus that’s had so many baffling symptoms and after-effects.  

“I would highly recommend getting it,” Zaccardelli said. “It helped me out tremendously.”

Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News’ Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state’s vaccine rollout plan. […]

crime

Rock Hill community remembers Lesslie family killed in mass shooting

Dr. Robert Lesslie was known professionally for his medical expertise, but he and his wife Barbara are also being remembered for their work serving in the community.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — As the Rock Hill community mourns the loss of Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara, and grandchildren Adah and Noah, those who knew the Lesslie family share the impact they had on York County, both personally and professionally.

Dr. Lesslie and Barbara volunteered at The Manna House Pantry once a month, and Dr. Lesslie served as a board member, said Harold Aubert, vice president of The Manna House Pantry.

Aubert said the Lesslie’s were always willing to pitch in a helping hand.

“One thing I can say about Dr. Lesslie is that whenever we needed something, Dr. Lesslie was more than happy to help,” Aubert said. “He was one humble person. He and his wife, both.”

The Manna House Pantry said in a statement on Facebook, “We will miss their caring spirit, their hugs and the joy they brought into a room.”

RELATED: Suspect in Rock Hill shooting will have brain probed for trauma-related harm

“When they come in, it’s just like a ray of sunshine,” Aubert said. “Barbara would come in, and she would just start talking to everybody. I mean, she just come up and say hi, give you a hug.”

Aubert said Dr. Lesslie also saw a way to fill people’s medical needs through the food pantry by starting a health ministry with free checkups.

“One of his main concerns was, do the people coming have, do they understand their blood pressure?” Aubert added. “Do they understand their diabetes, cholesterol condition?”

Upon hearing the news of the tragedy this week, Aubert said he couldn’t believe it.

“There’s a big void in their heart right now,” Aubert said. “And all I can tell people right now is, remember Robert for who he was because he truly was one of a kind.”

Connie McIntyre, a clinical supervisor in the emergency room at Piedmont Medical Center, knew Dr. Lesslie professionally and personally.  

“Always calm and collected,” McIntyre said of Lesslie. “Always professional.”

McIntyre said she started in the ER at Piedmont Medical Center as a new college grad in 1995, working and learning from Dr. Lesslie.

RELATED: Deputies provide timeline of events for Rock Hill shooting

“He took the time to mentor me,” she said. “He taught me so many things. He would show me different x-rays and what they meant, go over bloodwork with me.”

But she said she gained even more than just medical knowledge from Dr. Lesslie by watching him interact with patients.

“He would sit down with patients, listen to them, listen to their story, everything about them,” McIntyre said. “He had a phenomenal memory and would make that patient feel extremely special, and that’s what he did with us as the staff, too.”

McIntyre said she didn’t think being a doctor was a job for Lesslie, that it was calling because of the love and the passion he had for his patients.

“He’s actually the physician that’s probably had the most impact on my life and in the community,” McIntyre added. […]

coronavirus

Duke University to require student COVID-19 vaccinations

Students must be vaccinated before they can enroll in fall classes. Accommodations will be permitted for medical and religious exemptions.

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University will require all new and returning students to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination before they can enroll in Fall 2021 semester classes, Duke University President Vincent Price announced in an open letter Friday evening.

“Looking ahead, we know that widespread vaccination will be the only way to facilitate a return to normal and robust campus life,” he wrote. 

The policy will cover all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in all degree programs. 

In his letter, Price says the school will make accommodations for documented medical and religious exemptions. 

“The past fourteen months have been among the most difficult and exhausting in our university’s history,” he wrote. “Under great stress, and often at great peril, we have remained committed to each other—and to our missions of discovery, research, and patient care.”

Duke University is encouraging students to book coronavirus vaccination appointments either through the school’s available appointment or through other providers.   […]

crime

'He's strong. Shook Strong' | Sole survivor in Rock Hill shooting battling critical injuries

York County deputies say Robert Shook was finishing up HVAC work at Dr. Robert Lesslie’s house when he was shot multiple times by former NFL player Phillip Adams.

CHERRYVILLE, N.C. — The family of Robert Shook, the sole survivor in the deadly shooting at the Rock Hill home of a prominent ER doctor, continues to battle critical injuries after being shot six times Wednesday afternoon.

According to York County deputies, Shook and his co-worker, James Lewis, were finishing up an HVAC job at the home of Dr. Robert Lesslie when former NFL player Phillip Adams shot them, as well as Dr. Lesslie’s wife and two grandchildren.

Shook, a Gaston County resident and an HVAC tech for GSM Services in Gastonia, was airlifted by paramedics to Charlotte, where he’s since undergone multiple surgeries.

His cousin, Heather Thompson, said Shook isn’t “out of the woods” just yet.

RELATED: ‘He had never met my son’ | Father of HVAC tech killed in Rock Hill shooting mourns tragic loss

“He’s Superman. Shook strong.” | The sole survivor in Rock Hill’s tragic shooting Wednesday continues to fight through critical injuries. His strength, despite being shot six time’s, is responsible for the first 911 call deputies received. We speak to Robert Shook’s family @wcnc. pic.twitter.com/H8rkiLovCS— Brandon Goldner (@BrandonWCNC) April 9, 2021

“I think the most important thing right now is that Rob makes it through,” Thompson said. “That he pulls through, and he comes back home.”

Shook is the father of three children, and Thompson described her cousin as a hard worker. 

“He loves his kids,” Thompson said. “He walks this earth and puts his work boots on every day for those three kids.”

Despite being shot six times, Shook was still able to call his supervisor at GSM Services, who then made the first 911 call in the shooting.

“I just had one call me screaming that he had been shot,” the 911 caller said. “The other technician has also been shot and not responsive.”

RELATED: Deputies provide timeline of events for Rock Hill shooting

Thompson said Shook’s 13-year-old son came up with the phrase, “Shook Strong,” to describe his father.

“He’s Superman,” Thompson said. “He’s ‘Shook Strong.'”

GSM Services started GoFundMe pages for both Lewis and Shook, which can be found here. […]

crime

Report: Ex-NFL player's brain probed for trauma-related harm

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been shown to cause violent mood swings and other cognitive disorders.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The brain of the former NFL player who killed five people in South Carolina before fatally shooting himself will be tested for a degenerative disease that has affected a number of pro athletes.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been shown to cause violent mood swings and other cognitive disorders.

York County Coroner Sabrina Gast told McClatchy Newspapers on Friday that she had gotten approval from Phillip Adams’ family for the procedure to be included as part of his autopsy. 

The Medical University of South Carolina will be working with Boston University, which has a CTE Center. 

According to its website, the center conducts research on the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel.

MORE ON PHILLIP ADAMS

Phillip Adams was a football and basketball player at Rock Hill High School.

He went on to play collegiately at South Carolina State University from 2006 to 2009 as a defensive back and was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh and final round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

He did not end up graduating from South Carolina State University.

Adams played 15 games his rookie season but suffered a severe and “gruesome” ankle injury that required surgery and screws to stabilize the break.

It was called “one of the ugliest injuries of the NFL season,” by NBC Sports.

In 2012, while playing for the Oakland Raiders, Adams suffered two concussions within a span of three games.

He played the week following his second evident concussion when the Raiders lost to the Carolina Panthers.

Adams also played for the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons.

His six-year NFL career ended after the 2015 season he spent with the Falcons.

WCNC Charlotte reached out to the NFL for comment and they released the following statement: “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of this devastating tragedy.” 

Phillip Adams was named the suspect in a shooting that left prominent Rock Hill Dr. Robert Lesslie and four other people dead said his son took his own life after shooting six people in York County, South Carolina, Wednesday.  […]

home

2-year-old dead after getting struck by car in Statesville

Police said 2-year-old Desmond Hayes was struck by a woman operating a 2010 Ford Taurus heading south on 5th Street.

STATESVILLE, N.C. — A 2-year-old is dead after the Statesville Police Department said he was struck by a car in Statesville.

According to police, the fatal accident happened at the 1000 block of 5th Street in Statesville. 

Police said 2-year-old Desmond Hayes was struck by a woman operating a 2010 Ford Taurus heading south on 5th Street. Desmond was transported to Davis Hospital where he later died from his injuries. 

Police said this accident is being actively investigated by the Statesville Police Department’s Traffic Unit. […]

home

These two Charlotte students created a non-profit that provides free lessons in math and English around the world

Xcelerate NC was formed by the sister-brother duo of Aditi and Anirudh Sengupta in June of 2020. They’re now helping kids in all corners of the globe

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s no secret that virtual learning at the start of the pandemic took a major toll on students and their families.

“We wanted to provide something that was engaging and fun and kept students learning,” XcelerateNC co-founder Aditi Sengupta said.

That’s why Aditi and her brother Anirudh started Xcelerate NC.

“Free online lessons for kindergarteners through 5th graders in public speaking and math,” Aditi said, outlining her specialties.

The Charlotte non-profit was founded in June 2020. Aditi, a junior at Ardrey Kell High School, teaches public speaking, but it’s not the only course in her tool belt.

“Reading and English and very essential grammar skills, writing skills as well,” she noted.

Anirudh, a 6th grader at Community House Middle School, teaches the math portion of the program.

“Simple computations all the way to algebra,” he noted.

For 30 minutes to an hour the two offer classes to local students in both areas through workshops, weekly sessions, and competitions at no cost. Their reach goes beyond the Charlotte area; they have students in Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and India as well.

“Even though I was teaching, I learned a lot from them,” Aditi told us.

The two siblings are also using their non-profit to give back to the community.

 “We did encourage parents to contribute to various causes including $500 to breast cancer,” Aditi said. 

Their non-profit’s first Xpress Math Workshop and Competition last December also raised funds for the CMS Exceptional Children’s Program.

“We wanted to reach out and try our best to help where we could be useful,” she remarked.

This Saturday, Xcelerate is hosting an online International Panel to discuss the effect of the pandemic on the education of children globally. The goal of this moderated panel-based discussion is to learn and share the different perspectives on the topic from educators, students, and mental health professionals.

You can learn more about Xcelerate here. […]

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This Charlotte organization is asking you to volunteer your time to help local nonprofits with demand this pandemic

SHARE Charlotte’s fifth Annual DO GOOD Week is an annual promotion that rallies the community to DO GOOD locally through volunteerism.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — SHARE Charlotte is gearing up for its fifth annual national volunteer week.

“Do Good Week is April 18 through the 24th,” SHARE Charlotte’s Julie Campbell said.

It’s the nonprofit’s annual promotion that rallies the community to spread the love locally through volunteerism.

“Since 2016 we’ve had over 10,000 volunteers apply to do good for local non-profits,” Campbell said.

Nonprofits like Jumping Dreams Double Dutch, which is seeing demand increase this pandemic.

The Charlotte non-profit is the only competitive double Dutch team in the Queen City.

It was founded in 2017.

RELATED: Alternative baseball club looking for new members to expand program in North Carolina

Away from the jump rope, the non-profit’s mission is to give back to underserved kids in the same city they represent on the road.

“We focus on fitness nutrition and building good character in children,” Jumping Dreams Double Dutch founder Angelicka Crawford said.

Seven days a week the non-profit partners with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte to raise awareness about childhood obesity, get kids moving and off of their electronic devices for at least an hour through physical fitness and provide free dinners for children in need.

“We feed about 120 kids a day,” Crawford said.

To put into perspective that’s over 800 individual meals a week.

The nonprofit isn’t looking to slow down anytime soon but to help keep up with the demand this pandemic it’s asking the community to volunteer their time.

“If anybody wants to help us deliver meals, pack the bags, make the meals, pray over the meals anything that makes a difference to the kids we’re looking for any and everybody,” Crawford said.

RELATED: Kindergarten teacher keeps teaching from a hospital room | Get Uplifted

On the jump rope side, the nonprofit is also looking for monetary donations to help with the program. 

Fifty dollars covers a child’s tuition for a month, $100 can help purchase five sets of ropes or food to feed 100 kids for three days, $600 covers a child’s tuition and uniform for a year or a month of food for 120 kids.

To learn more visit www.jumpingdreamsdd.org.

To get involved with other organizations needing extra help ahead of Do Good week visit sharecharlotte.org. […]

crime

Deputies provide timeline of events for Rock Hill shooting

Thursday’s media briefing included a breakdown of the York County Sheriff’s Office response to the tragedy

ROCK HILL, S.C. — As the community of Rock Hill, South Carolina continues to reel from the tragic shooting that claimed five lives on April 7, we’re taking a look at the timeline of events that unfolded that day.

During a news briefing on Thursday, April 8, the York County Sheriff’s Office provided a timeline of events from Wednesday afternoon through early the next morning. The timeline begins with the initial 9-1-1 call and ends with deputies confirming the suspect, 32-year-old Phillip Adams, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Among the victims: local doctor Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara, their grandsons Adah and Noah, and North Carolina HVAC technician James Lewis. Another technician working at the home was wounded by gunfire.

Here’s how the day played out for YCSO:

Late afternoon – Wednesday, April 7 

4:44 p.m.: The first sign anything was wrong was with a call for service from Marshal Road, where the shooting unfolded at the Lesslie family’s property. One of two 9-1-1 dispatch calls released by the office indicate someone from Lewis’ employer GSM Services in Gastonia, North Carolina placed the call. The wounded co-worker, Robert Shook had apparently called them about the shooting, prompting them to directly reach out to dispatch in York County.

4:52 p.m.: YCSO units arrive on the scene at the Lesslie family’s property. This is where they encounter initial gunshot wound victims outside of the home.

4:56 p.m.: K9 and drone assistance is requested to the scene.

4:59 p.m.: South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) helicopter requested

Around 5 p.m.: York County deputies enter the Lesslie household and find four gunshot wound victims inside.

Late night and early morning – Wednesday, April 7 into Thursday, April 8

Between 9:30-10:30 p.m., April 7: Phillip Adams’ home is cleared by YCSO.

2:37 a.m., April 8: Adams is confirmed dead inside his home

What’s next for the investigation 

Questions are still swirling about how this shooting happened, mainly on what led Adams to do this. During the briefing, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson urged patience and said rumors about what could have lead to the shooting are unfounded. An autopsy and toxicology report on Adams is slated to take place soon. […]

crime

VERIFY: No diagnosis of CTE nor confirmation of drug use in Rock Hill shooting suspect

With his background as an athlete and injury history, many online have speculated Phillip Adams had CTE or was motivated by drugs. Here is what is confirmed.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The York County Sheriff’s Office says former NFL player Phillip Adams is the shooter who took the lives of five people in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Wednesday evening.

Authorities have not released any information about a possible motive, and York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Thursday afternoon that there is “no indication” Adams had a patient-doctor relationship with one of the victims, Dr. Robert Lesslie.

THE CLAIMS

Following revelations of Adams’s football background and injury history, many online have speculated that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) or steroid or drug-use tied to past injury was somehow related to what happened.

THE VERDICT

Neither claims about CTE nor drug use can be verified at this time.

CTE CLAIMS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CTE is a brain disease that can happen after repeated concussions and head trauma. The injuries can change how the brain works, causing changes in mood, behavior, memory, even movement.

While there is a record of two concussions during Adams’s football career and Alonzo Adams, his father, told WCNC Charlotte he thought football had something to do with the horrific events, the CDC states that doctors have to diagnose CTE by checking a person’s brain after they have died.

The York County coroner reports that an autopsy is still pending. So for now, it is not possible to verify the CTE claim.

DRUGS/STEROIDS CLAIMS

As for the drugs and steroids claims, the coroner also states that a toxicology report is still pending. When asked if Adams had been cut off from any medication (and if Adams and Lesslie had a patient-doctor relationship), Sheriff Tolson said, “Can’t confirm it. No indication of it, but that’s something we’re certainly looking into.”

For now, this claim is unverified too. […]

gastonia

Police searching for missing Gastonia woman

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gastonia Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing woman.
According to police, 38-year-old Cherie Shavon Ingram has been missing from her home in Gastonia since March 27. She is 5’4” tall and weighs 145 pounds.
Anyone with information in regards to this missing person case is asked to contact the Gastonia Police Department at 704-866-6702 or the Gaston County Communication Center at 704-866-3300. […]

home

'It's been a tough day' | Friends, Rock Hill community honor family killed in mass shooting

Friends said the Lesslie’s were people of faith, who will be sorely missed at their church, and also in the community.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — A prominent emergency room doctor, his wife, and their two grandchildren were among five people killed in a York County, South Carolina, shooting Wednesday afternoon, the York County Sheriff’s Office confirmed early Thursday. Former NFL player Phillip Adams has been identified as the suspect in the shooting.

Inside the home, deputies found 70-year-old Dr. Robert Lesslie and his wife, 69-year-old Barbara Lesslie, dead, both with apparent gunshot wounds. Their grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie, were also shot and killed. A fifth person, identified as 38-year-old James Lewis, who was working at the home at the time, was shot and killed. All five died from gunshot wounds, the coroner said.

Friends said the Lesslie’s were people of faith, who will be sorely missed at their church, and also in the community. A void that will never be replaced in the lives they touched.

COMMUNITY FIRST: A small crowd has started to gather for a pray vigil at Fountain Park in #RockHill.Community members say they want to share their condolences to all the families, the investigators, & first responders @wcnc pic.twitter.com/L9EQn8qWRt— Briana Harper (@BriHarperTV) April 8, 2021

“It is just a sad, sad day to see such wonderful lives be taken in such a senseless manner,” a good friend of the Lesslie family, Skip Tuttle, said. 

Words are hard to come by when pillars of the community are taken away.

“Personally we’re having to absorb the loss of people we feel very close to and are going to miss a great deal,” he said. 

RELATED: Father of York County shooting suspect says son killed 5 others, then himself

The murders of Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara, and their two grandkids still shocks their good friend. 

“It’s been a tough day,” Tuttle said. 

He tries to hang onto the good memories n the midst of the unimaginable reality.

“They’re fun-loving people. Robert’s sense of humor is just second to none,” he said. “I keep using it in the present tense, it’s hard for me to accept the fact that he’s not here anymore.”

The Lesslie’s raised their kids on the same street where Tuttle raised his own. 

“My younger son would go down and spend the night at what we would call camp Lesslie. Barbara had a way of making kids feel welcomed,” he said. 

As did Dr. Lesslie with those he treated at his clinic or during home visits, offering care to the most disadvantaged.

“They just have so many ways that they have contributed to the well-being of this community,” he said. 

The Lesslie’s were active in their church, both part of the choir at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

RELATED: Former NFL player killed Rock Hill doctor, family before killing himself, authorities say

“Both of them sing beautifully,” he said. 

Both of them are now together in their eternal place, leaving behind so many who loved them. 

Another one of Dr. Lesslie‘s friends told WCNC Charlotte that his life was much bigger than the headlines. It’s what has made this story so hard to tell because of the large legacy the Lesslie’s leave behind.

As news of this tragedy continues to spread many in the community are hurt and grieving.

Some who never even got the chance to meet or know the Lesslie family still felt moved to honor their memory.

The medical office in Rock Hill where Dr. Robert Lesslie worked has now turned into this growing memorial with people leaving flowers and notes of remembrance for a man who was not only well known for his work and what he did, but also how he so kindly treated people.

“My heart was just shattered,” Heather Francisco, a community member said.Many are left trying to sort through the pieces of this tragedy that took the lives of five people. But thankfully those who are hurting don’t have to do it alone.

“I knew the answer was coming together as prayer,” Francisco said. 

A circle of prayer thinking of all the families involved, the investigators, and the first responders. Even though many of these people never knew them personally.

“Hearts are aching, hearts are broken, hearts are softened and this is a time to come together,” Francisco said. 

But for Dr. Brent Turner this loss hits a bit more personal.

He knew Dr. Lesslie and his family for nearly 20 years working at Camp Joy, a ministry for those with special needs.

Robert worked as the camp doctor and his wife was the bible school teacher. But we’re told for the couple it was more than just a job.

“They didn’t just sit around. they got to know the campers. they got to know their names and they participated,” Turner said. 

A lot of people are still left wondering why this tragedy would happen to a family many called selfless.

but now the hope is knowing their legacy will live on.”God knows what he’s doing and that family was so special, and they made an impact and will continue to make an impact,” Turner said. […]