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News In Brief

3 Charged In Feb. Shootout; Jeff Cline Appointed Hickory Mayor

A rapper and two others are due in court Wednesday on charges related to a February shootout in uptown Charlotte during CIAA basketball tournament week.

Sammie Benson, 27, who also goes by Blac Youngsta, has been charged along with Frederick Black, 23, and Antavius Gardner, 20, on six counts each of discharging a weapon into occupied property and felony conspiracy.

No one was hurt in the shootout, which occurred around 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 on North Caldwell St. Police say more than 100 spent shell casings were recovered in the roadway. The bullets struck cars and the windows of nearby apartments.

Several entertainment websites have reported that the target of the shooting was another rapper who goes by Young Dolph.

Hickory Council Appoints Jeff Cline As Mayor

Following the unexpected death of Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright, the city council has unanimously voted to appoint Jeff Cline to serve the remainder of Wright's term.

Cline is a Senior Vice President for BB&T Insurance Service and was on the Hickory City Council in the 1990s. He also served as president of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce. Cline will be sworn in on June 6.

Fiery Crash Kills Family Of 4, Other Driver

Five people died in a fiery crash with a tractor-trailer that closed a I-95 in eastern North Carolina for hours Tuesday.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says the wreck happened when a tractor-trailer approaching a work zone near the South Carolina state line failed to slow and collided with a pickup. The truck driver was killed, along with two young girls and their parents in the pickup.

Several other vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction collision that caused a fire and other injuries.

The highway patrol identified the people killed in the pickup as Elise Ann Spennati, 32; Cole Allen Spennati, 25; Sianna Spennati, 1; and Aila Spennati, 4.

The tractor-trailer driver was identified as Michael Elliot, 68.

Sen. Thom Tillis Collapses During Three-Mile Race In Washington

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis is back on his feet after collapsing Wednesday morning during a three-mile footrace in Washington, D.C.

The 56-year-old senator was seen falling the ground about 15 to 20 minutes into the race, which started at 8 a.m. Tillis at first appeared unconscious but was revived and breathing when taken away in an ambulance.

He later released a video statement, assuring people he was in stable condition and looking forward to getting back to work.

"I'm fine," he said, "Just running about two-and-a-half miles in, got overheated. No CPR, no special measures, just checking me out. See you back on the hill."