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Officials: Family member shot after squirrel hunt

Hickory officials said someone was shot in the face by a family member while hunting squirrels.

The Catawba County sheriff showed up at the scene wearing a bullet proof vest, according to our partners at the Hickory Daily.

A SWAT team showed up at the scene on 39th Avenue Northeast.

The victim was shot with a 22-caliber rifle and was taken to the hospital, the newspaper said.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Rowan Co. teacher accused of sexually assaulting 2 students
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MEDIC: 1 person killed in northeast Charlotte crash
Holiday Travel: Weather could affect drivers, fliers in NC

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:49:47 -0500

Student from Cabarrus Co. to march with WCU band in Macy's Parade

If you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, you may see a familiar group -- familiar to North Carolina, at least. 

The Western Carolina Marching Band, also known as The Pride of the Mountains, will be leading the annual parade in New York City. 

Sophomore Kelsey Keller, who attended Northwest Cabarrus High School, made the trip to the Big Apple.

“I’ve always wanted to do marching band. (The flute) always seemed like a really pretty instrument to me,” Keller said.

She discovered the flute while in middle school band and liked the sound it made. Keller knew early in high school that Western Carolina was where she wanted to be.

“My freshman year we went to a band competition where Western was an expedition band,” Keller said. “After that I turned to my friend and said ‘This is the school I’m going to go to.’”

When Keller got to Western Carolina, she went through marching band camp and an audition in front of three directors. She made the gold band, which performs half-time shows at football games. There is also a purple band. Both groups, which total around 500 members, will perform in the Macy’s parade.

They practice three times a week -- Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The group also gets together on Saturday game days.

The band also performed in the Rose Bowl parade in 2011.

“It’s unbelievable honestly,” Keller said. “It was unbelievable honestly to find out we were playing, but to find out we’re leading ... it is crazy.”

The group left for New York on Sunday.

The band’s energy is apparent. Keller says there are always dance moves. She enjoys the band’s competitiveness, but also its balance of fun. No doubt everyone in Cullowhee will be looking for this energy on Thursday morning. 

Click here to learn more about Western Carolina’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band.

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:37:09 -0500

Police: 69-year-old man sold drugs to undercover officer

Rowan deputies arrested a 69-year-old man after he sold an undercover officer 150 doses of oxycodone.
 
Officials said Henry Blankenship sold oxycodone to the investigator three times.
 
Deputies said Blankenship has an extensive criminal history and was on parole for second-degree murder when he was arrested this week.

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Holiday Travel: Weather could affect drivers, fliers in NC

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:39:48 -0500

2 women accused of cheating Medicaid out of $5M

Two Charlotte women accused of trying to cheat Medicaid out of $5 million could face prison time.

Federal prosecutors said social worker Aliya Boss claimed she provided care to more than 200 Medicaid recipients and billed the government for more than 64 hours of service in just one day.

Mental health therapist Zaria Humphries pleaded guilty in a separate case.

Investigators said she claimed she provided 39 hours of therapy in a day and offered patients cash and food in exchange for their Medicaid numbers. Boss and Humphries could face 10 years in prison.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

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Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 20:16:57 -0500

Sudden day care closing leaves families blindsided

Parents in Bessemer City just learned their children's day care center is closing suddenly in two weeks.
 
Eyewitness News anchor Scott Wickersham spoke to upset parents Wednesday who are scrambling to find new care for their children, and asked center leaders why they suddenly have to close.
 
Workers at the day care center at First Baptist Church in Bessemer City said it's been operating for nearly 30 years.
 
But on Monday, administrators told workers and parents they will shut down in two weeks.
 
“They're leaving mothers stranded with no day care for those children,” said Dorothy Gneda, a grandmother of a 2-year-old girl who goes there.
 
She said the closing blindsided parents.
 
“Usually they give a 30-day notice to find a day care,” Gneda said. “And they're not being honest with the parents. They say financial problems, but I don’t believe that for one second.”
 
But leaders said that is the only reason.
 
The chairwoman of the Child Care Committee blames declining enrollment, cuts in supplemental funding and higher operating expenses.
 
She wouldn't discuss the details of those extra costs or where that supplemental funding came from.
 
One mother said parents offered to pay more or help with fundraisers.
               
“Raising the tuition -- I'm sure parents would be willing to do that,” said Neely Anderson. “To allow the kids to stay here where they feel safe and it’s familiar.”
 
But that familiarity will soon end for these children.
 
Parents said day care options are limited with many that are full.
 
Day care leaders said the last day for employees will be Dec. 12.

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Holiday Travel: Weather could affect drivers, fliers in NC

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:49:54 -0500

Car overturns into Huntersville creek

Crews were on the scene of a car that overturned into a creek at Gilead Road and Bradford Hill Lane in Huntersville.

The single-vehicle wreck sent one person to the hospital Wednesday night, according to Mecklenburg EMS Agency.

There is no more information available at this time.

The Huntersville Fire Department and North Mecklenburg Rescue Squad responded to the accident.

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Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:28:08 -0500

Shooting suspect has extensive criminal history

Tommicha Walker called her brother a dozen times on the morning of Nov. 7.
 
He's handicapped after a stroke, could hardly walk, had one paralyzed arm and wasn’t driving himself around anymore.
 
"Something in my gut told me I needed to get over there," Walker said.
 
She found her brother on a sofa shot in the arm and the groin.
 
"The couch was just drenched in his blood,” Walker said. “He'd been there 12 hours and still was conscious."
 
Lancaster County sheriff's deputies named 24-year-old Javarus Hayden as the suspect after Walker identified him. He had apparently owed Hayden a small amount of money.
 
Less than three weeks later, Rock Hill police arrested Hayden and another man in a home invasion that happened Monday on Favorwood Drive.
 
Walker was relieved when Channel 9 told her that Hayden was in jail, but she's upset that he was free in the first place.
 
"Why is this a revolving door?" she said.
 
Hayden was out of jail on bond for three pending charges -- two drug arrests and a charge of pointing a gun at a person.
 
Before that records show he'd been arrested at least 10 times over the last seven years.
 
Here is a partial list of those arrests and charges, all from Lancaster County:

2007- Armed robbery, receiving stolen goods
2008- Burglary, drugs, gun charges and assault and battery
2010- Sentenced to five years in prison
2012- Released from prison
2013- Charged with pointing a gun at a person and drug distribution (pending)
2014- Drug distribution (pending)
2014- Released on bond
 
Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile called Hayden a big problem for law enforcement there.
 
"He's one of those we've just been dealing with for six, seven, eight years now. He just gets out and continues to offend," Faile said.
 
Faile has been concerned about the increasingly violent offenses Hayden had been arrested for, even before the shooting last month.
 
"In 2010, he got five years for five separate gun charges," Faile said.
 
Sixth Circuit Court Solicitor Doug Barfield said when Hayden was last in court in Lancaster, he was sent to prison.
 
"The last time he was in our court he was sent to prison for five years. That was our goal, to give him prison time," he said.
 
Hayden now faces a much longer sentence if he's convicted for attempted murder in Lancaster, and for the burglary and kidnapping in the home invasion in Rock Hill.
 
Walker said her brother is in rehab and recovering from his injuries. However, something else that happened the night he was shot terrified her.
 
Her brother told her, the gunman left after shooting him, but returned later.
 
"He came back and aimed a cellphone light at his face to make sure he was dead. So my brother played dead," Walker said.
 
"I’d hate to see nothing come from this and me finding my brother almost dead in vain," she said.
 
Faile said his job is to put people in jail and leave them there but the justice system doesn't always allow that.
 
"Something needs to happen. There's a breakdown in the system somewhere," Faile said.

Barfield said judges must review a lot of factors when they set a bond on someone following an arrest. Criminal history is only one part of that.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Rowan Co. teacher accused of sexually assaulting 2 students
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Holiday Travel: Weather could affect drivers, fliers in NC

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:31:55 -0500

Teen shot several times in face with pellet gun

Police in east Charlotte are trying to find the person who shot a teenager with a pellet gun as he was walking home from school Friday.

“The driver held out an airsoft pistol and he just started to shoot at us," the teen, a junior at Independence High School, told Eyewitness News Wednesday.

He said at first he didn't feel the pellets but that quickly changed.

"Once one hit my cheek, went through and hit one of my teeth, I realized I was being harmed," he said.

"When I first heard it was a pellet gun, that's bad but it can't be that bad," his mother said.

But that quickly changed.

"But when I got to the hospital and saw the X-rays and saw where the pellets were, that was just terrifying," she said.

The X-rays showed several pellets lodged in his face, one just above his jaw, another dangerously close to his eye.

Fortunately, it was just a pellet gun and he will be fine but the attack has left him with another kind of scar that won't heal so quickly.

"It's like a kind of paranoia. I just don't feel safe leaving home anymore," he said.

"It breaks my heart that he has lost that sense of security and safety," his mother said.

Police have several leads but have not made any arrests in the case.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Rowan Co. teacher accused of sexually assaulting 2 students
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Holiday Travel: Weather could affect drivers, fliers in NC

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:04:02 -0500

Woman charged for fulfilling husband’s dying wish of voting

A dying man's last wish ended with his elderly wife charged with a felony crime in Union County.
 
Tuesday, Verna Roehm, 75, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor voter fraud.
 
Investigators said in 2012, Roehm's husband told her his final wish was to vote on the Republican ticket in the presidential election, and then died before the election.
 
State elections officials said Roehm then filled out an absentee ballot with her husband's name on it, and mailed it to the Union County Board of Elections where it was counted.
 
Investigators said the discrepancy was discovered during a regular audit by elections officials, and Roehm was charged with felony voter fraud.
 
The Union County District Attorney's office said the judge accepted a prayer for judgment in the case, convicting Roehm of a lesser charge due to the unusual circumstances of the case.
 
Still, investigators said it's important to prosecute these kinds of crimes to protect voters' rights.
 
"Even with the time that's passed [since 2012], it's important for the Board of Elections to look and go back, and count vote for vote who those votes were cast for," said Sgt. Kevin James with the Union County Sheriff's Office.
 
Elections officials said Roehm's vote did not unduly influence any of the 2012 races

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:12:02 -0500

Police: Shooting victim driven to police headquarters, dies on scene

Concord police are investigating a homicide after a man was shot and later died, according to a news release.

Police said a woman brought the man to police headquarters on Cabarrus Avenue around 2 p.m. Wednesday.  The woman left the man sitting in a car while she went inside the office. When officers responded, they found the man was unresponsive. Efforts to save his life were unsuccessful.

"When the wife entered the lobby and was frantic and requested assistance, the Customer Service Unit got on the radio and requested officers to come to the front that there was a gunshot victim," said Maj. Wendell Rummage, Concord police.

Police said Andres Alberto Martinez Trouch, 31, was shot after a black man stopped the car Trouch and his wife were in on Malvern Drive at Lincoln Street.

Trouch's wife, who was not injured, told police there was a confrontation between the men and Trouch was shot. The wife immediately drove away from the scene to the police station.

Investigators are attempting to locate and interview potential witnesses this evening as the investigation continues.

Eyewitness News has a crew headed to the scene. Check back for updates.

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Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:30:56 -0500

Burst pipe causes flooding at Carolina Place Mall

A burst pipe caused flooding Wednesday in the Carolina Place Mall, according to the Pineville Fire Department.

Officials said a sprinkler pipe burst in the Forever 21 store on the second floor of the mall. That pipe was isolated and only Forever 21 was affected. The store closed and the rest of the mall remains open.

Eyewitness News has a crew headed to the scene. Check back for updates at wsoctv.com.

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Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:19:00 -0500

Official says paid garbage disposal program benefits community

The city of Charlotte is still months from deciding if it will start billing residents for how much garbage they throw away.
 
But communities across our area have had a pay-as-you-throw program for years.
 
Eyewitness News reporter Stephanie Coueignoux went to Catawba County to find out the plan impacts taxpayers everyday lives and their wallets.
 
 “I do like the fact that I just have to pay for my own disposal for my own waste,” said resident Vinnie Curtis.
 
Curtis was at the Catawba County landfill where he was dropping off his garbage.
 
Throwing trash away at the landfill costs residents $33 a ton. For curbside pickup, residents pay $18.88 per month if they recycle and $5 more if they don't.
 
All that money goes to pay for the program.
 
Since the county doesn't charge residents an additional fee to pick up and dispose of the waste, every resident pays for their own trash.
 
“The less they throw away, the more they recycle, the less they eventually end up paying,” said Jack Chandler with the Catawba County Utility Department.
 
Curtis said because it impacts his wallet, he's become more diligent.
 
“We recycle anything we can whether it's paper, plastic or cardboard, or what have you,” Curtis said.
 
Channel 9 asked whether this is fair for larger families who naturally generate more trash.
 
Chandler admitted they may pay more but this program is also aimed at benefiting the environment.
 
“We believe that our citizens do reap a benefit from that,” Chandler said.
 
Chandler said the county will also save money because it won't have to buy another landfill for 70 more years.
 
Since the program started, the amount of garbage generated per person has dropped 33 percent.

Channel 9 asked if Charlotte will consider dropping its waste disposal fee if they move forward with the program and have not heard back.
 
Charlotte officials are in the early stages of reviewing the program including those added costs. They expect to finish their report in May.

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Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:01:45 -0500

CMPD: Armed man flees after robbing Freedom Dr. Cook Out

An armed man held up the Cook Out on Freedom Drive at about 7 a.m. Wednesday, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department detectives are asking for the public’s help to find the robber.

The thief brandished a firearm and demanded money from a victim before running off, according to a news release from the CMPD.

The thief is described as a black man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall with an average build and was last seen wearing black jogging pants and a hooded sweatshirt. 
 
"Trouble happens at all times and it's unfortunate because it makes you want to not go lots of times because you're afraid," Betty Oates, who lives nearby, said. 
 
Police don't have enough information to connect this robbery to two others that happened nearby, but the circumstances are similar.
 
On Aug. 7, police said a suspect tried to rob a KFC on Freedom Drive. A few weeks later on Aug.27, the Aldi's on Freedom Drive was robbed.
 
In both cases, the suspect was armed and took off on foot. 
 
Luwanna Smith works nearby and came to the Cook Out to eat Wednesday afternoon, not knowing what happened earlier in the morning.
 
"Everybody just be careful, keep your eyes open. Don't forget, it's the holidays," Smith said.
 
Neighbors said they aren't surprised to learn this happened there but they plan to be extra careful now.
 
"Whenever I come or wherever I go I always look, watch my surroundings because you just never know what's going to happen," Oates said.

Anyone with information concerning this case or the robber is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:36:37 -0500

Hiker killed by bear photographs animal minutes before attack

A New Jersey hiker, mauled to death by a bear in September, took photos of the bear just minutes before the bear attacked, The Associated Press reports.

Police in West Milford have released the images taken by Darsh Patel before he was killed by the black bear while hiking in the Apshawa Preserve.

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The bear, which is seen in the photos behind a fallen tree, put puncture marks in the phone, authorities told AP

The New York Post reported the bear started coming at Patel and a group of friends he was hiking with.  They split up  and ran away.  When they regrouped, they realized Patel was missing.  Two hours later, the Post reported, Patel was found with the bear lingering nearby. 

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:57:40 -0500

Coke getting into the milk business, and it won't be cheap

Coke says their cow juice will be “premiumized and tastes better, and we'll charge twice as much for it as the milk we're used to buying."

Why pay more for the “new” milk?

Chief Customer Officer Sandy Douglas says Fairlife, "doesn't contain lactose, and it has 50% more protein and calcium than regular milk, as well as 30% less sugar.”

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Business Insider reports the move comes as sagging soft drink sales force manufacturers to look at other ways to fill in the revenue.

You won’t be able to miss the debut. Ads promoting the beverage feature sexy women covered in milk

The Guardian says Coke has partnered with “92 family-owned dairies and will launch next month.”

"We're going to be investing in the milk business for a while to build the brand so it won't rain money in the early couple of years," Douglas said at the conference introducing the product. He paused before adding, “when you do it well, it rains money later."

A Fairlife worker calls the drink "a dairy option that is sourced from sustainable family farms," but others just refer to it as "Milka-Cola."

You can buy Fairliffe now if you live in Minnnesota. The rest of the county will get their shot in December.

More here.   

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:55:38 -0500

WSOC-TV supports #GivingTuesday -- A day to give back

#GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is designated as a day of giving back.

The movement was created as a national day of charity in response to the commercialization of the post-Thanksgiving season, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The first #GivingTuesday was organized in 2012 by 92nd Street Y to promote and celebrate the American tradition of giving.

Humane Society of Charlotte supports #GivingTuesday

Leaders in the social media industry joined the movement to help expand the idea throughout the country.

Goodwill supports #GivingTuesday

The concept gained steam and was brought together by groups including the United Nations Foundation, DonorsChoose.org, Mashable, Blackbaud, charity: water, GlobalGiving, Groupon and more.

WSOC-TV has joined the movement along with other media companies, including ABC News and the Washington Post.

WATCH: Channel 9 anchors on #GivingTuesday

From all of us at Channel 9, we encourage you to give back to your favorite charity and lend a helping hand to those less fortunate this holiday season.

If you are interested in giving back, here is a list of the major charities in the Charlotte area:

Here are some of the charities Channel 9 has supported:

School Tools

Steve’s Coats for Kids

Summer Food Drive

 

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:33:24 -0500

NC troopers targeting speeders during 'Challenge Campaign'

This holiday weekend, drivers will want to watch out for state troopers -- they'll be stationed every 20 miles along Interstate 40 as part of the "Challenge Campaign."

Troopers hope the added presence will encourage drivers to slow down and prevent fatal crashes.

The campaign runs until 11 p.m. Wednesday and again on Sunday.

Troopers said they'll target speeders, distracted drivers, cars following too closely and impaired drivers.

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:12:08 -0500

Police: Body found near railroad tracks in Huntersville

Investigators were trying to figure out what happened to a person found dead along railroad tracks in Huntersville Wednesday morning.

Officials said the man was found partially on the tracks near Main Street and Fourth Street. Police told Channel 9 that the man was hit by a train but they don't know if that is how he died.

Huntersville police said a passerby saw the man's body just before 8:30 a.m.

The man did not have any identification on him and police haven't yet been able to figure out who he is.

Police are investigating the death as suspicious but don't necessarily suspect foul play.

“It's too early to speculate the cause of death. He was struck by the train, we will have an autopsy conducted and that will determine what the cause of death is,” said Huntersville Chief Cleveland Spruill.
 
The medical examiner was out on scene and Huntersville police are also working with railroad police as well as Norfolk Southern on the case.

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Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:52:07 -0500

Florida man accused of making meth in public bathroom

Authorities say a 20-year-old man is accused of trying to set up a meth lab in a restroom at a park in New Smyrna Beach.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports a construction worker called 911 on Tuesday to report smoke that smelled of chemicals and acid coming from the men's bathroom at Detwiler Park.

>> Photos: Justin Hill's booking photos through the years

Police and a hazardous materials team went to the park to investigate. Inside the bathroom, they found remnants of a one-pot meth lab. The restroom wasn't seriously damaged.

The worker told police he saw a man running from the area with a bag in his hand.

Evidence led investigators to Justin Hill. He's also a suspect in a home burglary.

He was released from jail and records don't say whether he has an attorney.

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:28:25 -0500

Kidnapped 400-pound Sasquatch statue found

“Squatchy,” as he’s known, had been missing for several days. The statue's owner, Ralph Spence, didn’t panic, but he wanted his family’s favorite concrete friend back.

"My two youngest boys bought it," Spence told Fox19.

"It started out like a joke and, actually, my wife was kind of upset about it at first, but after we had it awhile we'd dress it up for the holidays and stuff," he continued.

It wasn’t just the Spence family who were upset. Ralph said neighbors were equally concerned because they too enjoyed dressing the concrete creature up in seasonal attire.

Spence was relieved when he got a call saying Squatchy “was chilling out in an open field” nearby.

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Police and the family found the statue wearing “a nice sweater and Cincinnati Reds ball cap.”

Spence figured it took a bunch of people to carry off the piece, but an attached note seemed to indicate otherwise.

"Squatchy only required two of our members for transit. Sincerely, The Body Building Bandits. P.S. Happy Holidays," it read.

Relieved the “kidnapping” ended well, Delhi Township police released a statement: "Sasquatch has been reunited with his owner, and it feels so good.”

The statement went on to say Squatchy “appears to be in good health.”

A Christmas miracle, or just a good old prank? Uou decide.

More here.   

Published: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:00:00 -0500