Originally created 11/17/99

Police seek answers from Carruth in girlfriend's shooting



CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The pregnant girlfriend of Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was critically wounded in a shooting Tuesday, and police were trying to determine if the player knew anything about the crime.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police refused to divulge if they had found any motives for the 12:36 a.m. shooting of Cherica Adams, who was driving her car when she was shot repeatedly with a handgun fired from a passing vehicle.

Police said they believe Carruth had been out with Adams earlier in the evening and was in a sport utility vehicle trailing her at the time of the shooting. They said Carruth consented to a search of his south Charlotte home and his white Ford Expedition. No weapons were recovered.

Police spokesman Tom Barry said authorities wanted to speak with Carruth because they believed he had information about the crime. Carruth, on the advice of his attorney, refused to be interviewed.

"He has not been detained," Barry said. "He has not been arrested."

The Panthers said it would be premature to comment on any possible connection between the crime and Carruth, 25, the team's first-round draft choice in 1997.

Adams, who according to police was 6.5 months pregnant, underwent surgery at Carolinas Medical Center for her gunshot wounds and to have the baby delivered. The baby, a boy, was also listed in critical condition after being delivered by emergency Caesarian section, hospital spokeswoman Kirstin Bass said.

Police declined to say whether Adams had named her attacker or whether they were certain Carruth was the baby's father. Police said they had been unable to speak with Adams since the surgery.

Police and hospital officials would not say how many shots were fired or how many shots struck Adams, 24, a Charlotte resident and an employee of a local mortgage company. Police would not specify the type of handgun used.

Barry said the shooting occurred as Adams was driving in her car on McAndrew Drive, a street in a quiet residential section of south Charlotte.

Barry said Adams told police that while she was driving, another vehicle pulled alongside her car, and several shots were fired from the other vehicle, striking her.

Adams' car drifted off the road and came to a halt, and she was able to call police on her cellular telephone and report the shooting and her location, Barry said. Adams was driven to the hospital by ambulance.

Carruth, the 27th overall selection in the 1997 draft after a standout career at Colorado, started 14 games as a rookie and led all first-year NFL players with 44 receptions for 545 yards.

But he has been hampered by injuries in each of the past two seasons. Carruth missed all but two games last year because of a broken bone in his right foot, and he hasn't played in Carolina's last four games this season because of a sprained left ankle.

Carruth's agent, Michael F. Sullivan, would not comment on the case.