Cherica Adams Is Murdered

November 16, 1999

Sports-wise, things had not been going well for Charlotte. It started with George Shinn's lurid sexual assault trial in 1997, televised on Court TV. In the months and years following, various athletes were charged with various crimes. But the events set in motion by shots fired November 16, 1999 qualify as the most bizarre. With those shots, any shred of innocent affection this city maintained for professional sports was shattered.

Rae Carruth, a speedy pass catcher whose frequent injuries belied his great promise, and Cherica Adams, and sometimes-companion of Carruth's, had just seen a movie at the Arboretum. They left in separate cars. According to prosecutors, Carruth later pulled in front of Adams, blocking her car. A gunman pulled up in a third car, firing four shots at Adams. Adams' and Carruth's baby, Chancellor, was delivered by cesarean section. He has brain damage and cerebral palsy. Adams died a month later.

Upon Adams' death, Carruth fled. He was found in the trunk of a Toyota Camry in Tennessee. His mother turned him in, as she announced to the country on Good Morning America.

Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and using a gun to try to kill an unborn child. He recently lost an appeal and remains in prison.

Following the Carruth case, the city was hit with the death of Charlotte Hornets player Bobby Phills in a car accident and the killing of former Panther Fred Lane. In between were more off-field incidents. The national media covered Charlotte's sports curse. Local sports fans are just now beginning to recover.


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