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Community mourning man killed in South Blvd. hit-and-run

A south Charlotte community is mourning the loss of a man killed in a hit-and-run Saturday night.

Angel Cruz was hit by a car on his moped and pushed into oncoming traffic on South Boulevard.

IMAGES: Accident on South Boulevard

“It's going to be a big loss, he's going to be missed by the kids, by just everybody,” said Tarasa Santiago, a friend of Cruz’s.

Police said he was waiting to turn left into a shopping center when James Lesage hit him, forcing him into oncoming traffic and another car.

Investigators said Lesage drove away. Cruz was pronounced dead on the scene.

STORY: One dead after hit-and-run crash in Charlotte

At the scene, a cooler attached to Cruz’s bike was how he made his living.

“We all (know) him as the corn man,” Santiago said.

Over the years, Cruz developed a relationship with people in south Charlotte, beyond that of the local corn vendor.

“He loved all the kids. If he had ice cream or if he had suckers he would give it to the kids without even asking them to pay,” Santiago said.

Friends said Cruz did his work to support his own children in Mexico. He told some he planned to go back in a year to be with them.

“I think it makes me more angry that (Lesage) didn't stop. There's no way to know if he could have saved his life by stopping and being there, but just to have respect,” Santiago said.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 22:30:51 -0400

Employees: Shots fired during attempted robbery at Waffle House

Medic responding to a shooting Sunday night at a University City Waffle House.

Employees told reporter Blake Hanson that two men attempted to rob the store. Both men wore surgical masks and black hoodies, employees said. They jumped the counter, fired three shots and fled the scene.

Police said one person was injured in the scuffle.

Police are looking for a silver SUV with out-of-state tags.

The Waffle House is surrounded by caution tape.

Police are interviewing people inside of the restaurant.

Reporter Blake Hanson will have more on Eyewitness News at 10 and 11.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:41:30 -0400

Two arrested for murder after man found dead in apartment

Police arrested two people in connection with a Caldwell County homicide.

Police said Marcus Devlin was found dead in an apartment on Free Mason Road near Hudson Saturday night.

Reporter Dave Faherty was there as the suspects were taken into custody.

Shea Fullard and Nathan Vasquez have been charged with murder.

Fullard kept her face covered and told Faherty she was not talking about the case.

Vasquez said “I did not hurt anyone” as he walked past Faherty on the way to the magistrate.

Fullard and Vasquez will appear before a judge Monday morning in Lenoir.

Deputies have not released details about how Devlin died or how long he may have been in the apartment.

Investigators said they have more interviews to do in the case and will release more details Monday morning.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 18:05:03 -0400

Medic: One taken to CMC following shooting

Medic said one person was taken to Carolinas Medical Center after a shooting Sunday afternoon.

The patient was transported from the 5700 block of Albemarle Road. Medic said the patient was not shot in that location.

That person has life-threatening injuries.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:03:12 -0400

DA to contact attorneys in controversial cellphone tracking cases

Mecklenburg County's district attorney says his office will begin contacting attorneys handling cases in which police used a controversial tracking device. It's a technology so secret that police have to sign nondisclosure agreements to buy it. 

It's called a cell site simulator, and is being used by law enforcement to track suspects in criminal cases both during investigations and also after they've been charged. The practice has drawn criticism from defense attorneys who say they knew nothing about it until recently. 

PREVIOUS STORY: Records unsealed on CMPD eavesdropping on some cellphones

"The concern about the cell site simulator is that it would unlawfully capture information for use in a criminal case," said Charlotte defense attorney James Wyatt. "It could be the location of a defendant, it could be listening in to their calls."

In Charlotte police have gotten 522 court orders from judges allowing them to use the tracking device. 

READ: DA's Office statement regarding cell site simulators

The review by the DA's office found that the majority of those instances involved tracking suspects who had warrants for their arrest. In only two cases, the DA said, was the device use to investigate cases before an arrest was made and in both cases the DA's review showed information was turned over to the defendant's attorneys.

Still, use of the device, often called "Stingray," remains the subject of many concerns.

"I worry about us losing all our rights and being watched," said Charlotte City Councilwoman Claire Fallon. Fallon, who heads the City Council's Community Safety Committee, said she wants to know more. "I have some questions and would want to talk to the DA and the police chief about it."

The district attorney's office said they’re still not sure about how the Stingray was used in at least 40 other criminal cases. 

That, James Wyatt said, is likely to inflame concerns among defense attorneys. 

"Defense attorneys will not take what the DA says for granted. The review does not end the story.  Defense attorneys will want to vigorously investigate those," Wyatt said.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 16:38:15 -0400

117 roosters, duck seized in cockfighting ring

A nonprofit organization is asking for the public’s help to care for 117 roosters and one duck seized in a cockfighting ring Saturday night in Wallace, South Carolina. Five seized roosters died overnight from their injuries.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, which is based in Indian-Trail, participated in the raid led by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Sheriff’s Department of Marlboro County. The Humane Society also participated and took custody of 11 dogs found on the property.

The roosters have severe injuries, ranging from stab wounds all over their bodies, head trauma and concussions to broken legs, ribs and bleeding from their ears, nose or mouth.

The rescue is at capacity for roosters and has an urgent need to find adoptive homes for the birds at its Indian-Trail facility, as well as the newly-seized birds.

The new roosters must be placed by April 10 or they will be euthanized.

This is the second time in less than a year that CWR has been called by South Carolina officials to help provide animal care after a cockfighting bust. The rescue gained custody of nearly 150 roosters seized by police in May during a cockfighting bust in Chesterfield County. Nearly 50 people in McBee were charged for their part in that cockfighting ring.

Some of those birds have already found new homes with other rescues, but about 30 remain at CWR and are available for adoption.

The all-volunteer rescue is also asking the community to help buy food and medical supplies for the extra birds. The Humane Society of the United States did provide a $3,000 grant to kickstart the care.

“Rescues like ours struggle daily with funding. Our animals simply don’t have mainstream appeal,” Director Jennifer Gordon said. “We want to save the world, but we just can't do it alone. We really need the public's support to care for these birds and find them forever homes.”

Click here for the rescue's contact information or to make a donation for the roosters care.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:14:23 -0400

117 roosters, duck seized in cockfighting ring

A nonprofit organization is asking the public for help to care for 117 roosters and a duck seized in a cockfighting ring Saturday night.

Five seized roosters died overnight from their injuries. Other roosters have severe injuries, ranging from stab wounds all over their bodies, head trauma and concussions to broken legs, ribs and bleeding from their ears, nose or mouth.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, a wading bird and other wildlife rescue group, participated in the raid led by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Sheriff’s Department of Marlboro County. The rescue is at capacity for roosters and needs to find adoptive homes for birds already in its care, as well as the newly-seized birds.

The new roosters must be placed by April 10 or they will be euthanized. Some of those birds have already found new homes with other rescues, but about 30 remain and are available for adoption.

The all-volunteer rescue is also asking for help to buy food and medical supplies for the extra birds. The Humane Society of the United States did provide a $3,000 grant to kickstart the care.

“Rescues like ours struggle daily with funding. Our animals simply don’t have mainstream appeal,” said Jennifer Gordon, director of the rescue group. “We want to save the world, but we just can't do it alone. We really need the public's support to care for these birds and find them forever homes.”

This is the second time in less than a year the rescue group has helped provide animal care after a cockfighting bust. The rescue gained custody of nearly 150 roosters seized by police in May during a cockfighting bust. Nearly 50 people were charged for their part in that cockfighting ring.

There also were 11 dogs found on the property during the weekend raid. They were taken into custody by the Humane Society.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:14:23 -0400

Man leads troopers on chase in Lincoln Co.

Highway patrol arrested a man after he led troopers on a high-speed chase Saturday.

Officials ordered Thomas Imler, 40, to pull over when they clocked him speeding, but the man would not stop.

The chase began in Lincoln County and continued into Cleveland County, officials said.

When Imler turned ono Lutz Road, one of the troopers bumped his car on a rear corner of Imler’s car. This hit caused Imler’s car to spin around facing the other trooper’s car and hit it.

Officials charged Imler with DWI, resist, delay, obstruct public officer and speed to elude arrest.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 14:03:10 -0400

Photo of children playing on Vietnam Women’s Memorial prompts debate

A photo of children climbing on the Vietnam Women’s Memorial statue has sparked a heated debate online.

Ohio tourist Matthew Munson took the photo and posted it on Reddit, according to National Review.

The image quickly went viral, and has been viewed over 2 million times.

>> Read more trending stories 

In the photo, the kids are climbing on the statue like it is playground equipment. Munson says the parents came along and asked the kids to get on the statue while they took photos. In the background of Munson’s image, a veteran in a wheelchair can be seen, with a somber look on his face. The people accompanying the veteran appear to be offended by the children’s actions.

Munson welcomed the debate over the image, saying that if anyone should be to blame for showing disrespect, it should be the parents, not the children.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:36:18 -0400

Gastonia police arrest two men in credit card fraud

Two men tried to pay with a stolen credit card at a Gastonia business Friday afternoon, officials said.

Gastonia police arrested Jason Johnson, 29, and Isiah Keller, 20, after they tried to make a purchase at a GameStop on East Franklin Boulevard.

Police charged Johnson with fraud-credit card/automated teller machine and fraud-impersonation.

They charged Keller with forgery, fraud-credit card/automated teller machine and fraud-impersonation.

Items involved with the case:

  • Five separate cloned credit cards
  • One plastic bag with assorted papers
  • One plastic bag with electronic devices
  • Five separate credit cards with the name Isiah Keller on the front
  • Two state ID cards
  • One Louis Vuitton wallet with credit cards inside
  • One black wallet with credit cards inside
  • Three separate cloned cards
  • One plastic bag with cut up credit cards

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 12:44:17 -0400

Officials: One dead in Rowan Co. wreck

One person died in a crash in Rowan County Sunday morning, officials said.

The wreck happened at the intersection between Deal Road and Unity Church Road.

Check back at wsoctv.com and Eyewitness News at 6 p.m. for more on this developing story.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 12:09:32 -0400

Police: Crack addict caught shoplifting sparks fight at Family Dollar

A woman told police she was desperate to support her crack cocaine habit when she tried to walk out of Family Dollar with a cartload of items.

Sparkle Colquitt, 33, is being held on suspicion of felony robbery after her arrest Saturday, according to the Dayton police report.

Family Dollar employees told police the woman walked in and started going down the aisles and loading up a shopping cart.

The alleged shoplifter then pushed the cart toward the entrance. An employee moved to block the door and asked the suspect what she was doing, to which she replied, “Making it easier on myself,” according to the report.

>> Read more trending stories

Police said the suspect started to pull hair and fight with the employees, who were able to subdue her and hold her down for police.

She was trying to walk out of the store with more than $255 worth of items, according to the report.

Police said while she was questioned in the back of a cruiser, Colquitt admitted she was addicted to crack cocaine and planned to sell the items she was about to steal to get money to buy more of the drug.

Colquitt, who has a history of arrests in Montgomery County dating back to 2000, is scheduled to appear for an arraignment on Monday.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:47:50 -0400

Charlotte vigil held for victims of discrimination

A community vigil calling for peace will take place in uptown Charlotte Sunday.

Organizers said the Peace in the Park vigil is in response to events in Ferguson, Missouri, the triple killing of a Muslim family in Chapel Hill and discrimination around the world.

It starts at 2 p.m. in Marshall Park and is open to the public.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:29:32 -0400

One transported to hospital after Gastonia wreck

A crash in Gastonia caused one person to be transported to the hospital, the Gastonia Fire Department said.
 
The crash happened Saturday afternoon on Franklin Boulevard.
 
A driver involved in the crash ran a red light while turning left.
 
A woman was taken to the hospital but has been released.
 
Officials are still looking into the crash and have not yet charged anyone.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 08:47:41 -0400

Obama reconnects with pizza man before leaving Florida

President Barack Obama golfed with several friends during his two-day visit to the Treasure Coast, but he made time before flying back to Washington on Sunday for another one who didn’t make it onto the course at Floridian National Golf Club.

The president met with pizza restaurant owner Scott Van Duzer, who was made famous in 2012 when he spontaneously bear-hugged the president during a visit to his restaurant, Big Apple Pizza and Pasta.

There was a smaller hug this time, and Van Duzer used the opportunity to introduce his sons, Scott Jr. and Jordan, to the leader of the free world.

“He’s a cool guy. I told everybody that from day one when he came into the restaurant,” said Van Duzer, who greeted the president this time at St. Lucie County International Airport.

“We caught a lot of crap from that first hug and everybody thought it was political, but we’ve been to the White House. We’ve been to the United Nations. He’s just a nice guy.”

Friends were the spirit of the 30-hour stay for Obama, who flew back to Washington on Sunday after a few rounds of golf at Floridian National in Palm City. At 4:25 p.m, Air Force One taxied down the airport’s runway and took off to the south before turning and heading on to the nation’s capital.

Obama’s trip — his second to the secluded club along the St. Lucie River that straddles the border between Martin and St. Lucie counties — did not include any public events. Instead, he spent his time playing golf Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning with longtime pals and supporters.

On Sunday, Obama was joined for a round of golf by Floridian owner Jim Crane, a major Democratic Party donor with whom he golfed during his February 2013 stay at the club. Also in his foursome were Militon Carroll, an official at Halliburton who also played with Obama in 2013; and Glenn Hutchins, a private equity investor who is part-owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics.

Saturday’s foursome included former Miami Heat great Alonzo Mourning, an early supporter of Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008; television broadcaster and former NFL wide receiver Ahmad Rashad; and Cy Walker, an attorney and a frequent golfing companion of the president who is a cousin of Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

He also visited briefly with Sunday afternoon with law-enforcement officials who helped oversee his stay — St Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder and Port St. Lucie Police Chief John Bolduc.

“The president wanted to thank the law-enforcement people that were there,” said Snyder, whose agency assisted with 12 to 15 deputies during the course of Obama’s visit. “The main thing he said was thank you for assisting (the Secret Service).”

Late Sunday afternoon, about 35 people gathered along Becker Road, just north of the golf club, hoping to catch a glimpse of the president and his motorcade. Eliza Levy, 13, sang the national anthem while she waited and held a sign showing her desire to someday perform for the president.

As the motorcade departed for the airport, Obama waved to the crowd. William Hazelton of Hobe Sound was among those who caught a glimpse of the president.

“It was great,”Hazelton said. “Any chance I get to see my president, I’m ready to see him. He’s a good president. He’s doing great things and everybody needs to stop bashing him and let him do his job.”

About 200 people gathered outside the airport along U.S. Route 1 south of Indrio Road, holding up signs and showing their support for their support for Obama.

He obliged the crowd, after arriving just after 4 p.m. The motorcade pulled onto the tarmac and idled next to the waiting Air Force One.

The president greeted a crowd of about 30 VIP’s in a cordoned off area and then met up with Van Duzer. Van Duzer said this was the fourth time he has met with Obama. When asked what the president said to him, the restaurant owner replied, “He said I looked great, I lost some weight. I told him I got a little gray up here, so we’re even.”

“Whether you like the president or not, you should respect the office,” Van Duzer said.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 08:03:59 -0400

One shot at west Charlotte house party

One person was shot Saturday night at a house party in west Charlotte.

Police said a person decided to open fire and shot more than a dozen bullets on Lynn Street around 11:30 p.m.

A man was hit once in the wrist, officials said.

Investigators said the victim will recover.

Channel 9 is asking CMPD if they've taken anyone into custody.

Check back for more details on this developing story.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:34:01 -0400

WATCH: Destiny's Child performs at the Stellar Awards

Destiny's Child said yes to a reunion Saturday night.

Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams came together to sing "Say Yes" at the 30th annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards in Las Vegas. According to E!, the performance marked the girl group's first reunion since the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show.

>> PHOTOS: Destiny's Child together again at the Stellar Awards

Click here or scroll down to see videos and photos from the performance, which went viral on social media.

>> Read more trending stories

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:08:24 -0400

Silver alert issued for Fayetteville man

A silver alert has been issued for a missing Fayetteville man.

John Bryan was last seen walking to a restaurant not far from Fort Bragg.

He may be suffering from dementia, or some other kind of mental illness.

Bryan is 5 foot 9 and weighs 160 pounds.

Anyone who has seen him is urged to call the police.

Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 06:37:22 -0400

Earth Hour 2015: Major landmarks, cities go dark (PHOTOS)

The Eiffel Tower and other major landmarks around the world went dark briefly Saturday to mark Earth Hour, an effort to raise awareness about climate change.

>> PHOTOS: Major landmarks, cities go dark for Earth Hour 2015

http://twitter.com/UN/status/582011140768706560

Click here or scroll down to see photos from the event.

>> Read more trending stories


Published: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 05:40:07 -0400

Mother relieved after Parsons receive prison sentences

Casey and Sandy Parsons remain in custody at the Forsyth County Jail in Winston Salem. The pair received lengthy prison sentences Friday on fraud charges.

Casey Parsons will spend 10 years in prison. Sandy Parsons will serve eight years.

PAST STORY: Parsons expected to file appeal after sentencing

The judge also blamed the couple for the disappearance of their adoptive daughter Erica.

“It was pure relief. I’m so relieved that he believed us when we testified against her,” said Amy Miller, who testified in the trial.

Miller used Casey Parsons as a surrogate mother in 2001, but said Casey claimed to have had a miscarriage. Casey was still pregnant.

“I obviously I trusted her. She gained my trust very fast. Now, I realize I missed a lot of signs,” Miller said.

Miller was able to get her son, but she told Channel 9 she regrets not pressing charges against Casey.

RAW VIDEO: Casey & Sandy Parsons enter courthouse

“I feel like if I would have stayed in North Carolina and done that, they would have served their time then and possibly Erica would be alive today,” Miller said. “And that's something I will probably have to deal with the rest of my life.”

As Miller and others find solace in the end of this case, they are left to ponder what happened to Erica.

Investigators still have not proven her death. Miller hopes someday there are more answers.

“People change when they're in prison. Maybe we'll get more evidence in Erica's death,” Miller said.

IMAGES: Behind the scenes at Parsons sentencing

Published: Sat, 28 Mar 2015 21:38:07 -0400