CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man was injured in a shooting in a nightclub parking lot in uptown Charlotte Thursday morning.
According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, a man showed up to Carolinas Medical Center-Main around 2 a.m. after he was shot in the leg. The man told police that the shooting happened at the Palace Charlotte nightclub on North Caldwell Street, which is located near the Spectrum Center.
Police say a fight started inside the club which then spread into the parking lot. The victim was struck by a stray bullet, officers say.
The victim is expected to be OK.
Officers did not say whether anyone was arrested.
According to their Facebook page, the club was promoting unofficial Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) events for the tournament including one that was scheduled for Wednesday night.
CMPD said they're expecting 100,000 people to be in Charlotte for the CIAA tournament.
The department typically boosts police staffing for the annual tournament but this year CIAA coincides with memorial events for Rev. Billy Graham, whose funeral is Friday.
"Because of Rev Graham's funeral and CIAA, we canceled days off that day so that we have more than enough officers to handle," said Major Gerald Smith. "And on that day we have – there are three priorities and they're all labeled number one. That would be Rev Billy Graham's funeral, CIAA and the general calls for service that our citizens give."
All CMPD officers will be working on Friday.
"We were fortunate enough that these events do not cross paths environmentally or physically so we believe we are able to deal with the traffic and the event for Billy Graham's funeral and then switch and move some staff over back to the downtown area where that evening we will see an increase in crowds for the CIAA," Smith said.
The CIAA tournament began earlier this week. Crowds are expected to arrive on Thursday and stay through the weekend.
"We have staffed up appropriately for the CIAA tournament," Smith told reporters during CMPD's weekly press briefing. "We feel we are in a good place to deal with the crowd and provide safety, provide a secure environment for everyone and we also deal with traffic."
Police are hoping the new permitting process will make it easier for officers to know what's happening where during CIAA.
During CIAA week the past two years, police investigated shootings that didn't involve official CIAA events. Smith says officers have been doing advance work to try to get a handle on any rivalries that could lead to trouble.
"Our people in our Intelligence Unit do a lot of work in the weeks and months leading up. Any entertainment that is brought in that we know about we – they do a great deal of work to see if there are any kind of beef going on between entertainers," Major Smith said. "We do the best that we can to make sure that the venues – and even their movements – even if they tell us about it that we can address those."
Police say one hurdle they face is an artist who comes to perform for one venue during the week will later be booked at another event, unbeknownst to officers.
The rapper thought to be the target of what police say was approximately 100 bullets fired during the CIAA week in 2017 is scheduled to be back in Charlotte this week to perform at an unsanctioned CIAA event.
Three men were charged in that shooting.
It's unclear whether CMPD investigators have spoken with the rapper to see if the rivalry that led to last year's shooting is still an issue.