Originally created 11/18/99

Police still waiting for Carruth to come forward



CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth failed to come forward Wednesday to talk to police about a shooting the day before that left his pregnant girlfriend critically wounded.

George Laughrun, Carruth's lawyer, said after Tuesday's shooting of Cherica Adams that his client would be willing to meet with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police investigators, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

But Laughrun said Wednesday afternoon that he wanted to gather more information from police before his client consented to speak with investigators.

Police have not called Carruth a suspect, but said they think he has information that could help them solve the crime.

"Mr. Carruth has not talked with us and has not indicated that he will," police spokesman Keith Bridges said. "We still want to, but don't know when and if we're going to get that opportunity."

Carolina coach George Seifert said he would not try to persuade Carruth, the Panthers' first-round pick in the 1997 NFL draft, to come forward and speak with police.

"That's strictly between he and his legal representation," Seifert said.

Adams was driving her black BMW sedan through a suburban Charlotte neighborhood at 12:36 a.m. when she was hit by four bullets fired from a passing vehicle.

Adams, 24, of Charlotte, underwent surgery at Carolinas Medical Center shortly after the shooting. She remained in critical condition Wednesday, as did her newborn son, who was 10 weeks short of full term when he was delivered in an emergency surgery. The child, believed to have been fathered by Carruth, was not struck by any bullets, police said.

Bridges said police interviewed Adams after her surgery, but would not disclose what was discussed.

Also Wednesday, police finished searching Carruth's home and his Ford Expedition.

The Panthers had their customary day off Tuesday, but Carruth was not on hand when the team gathered at Ericsson Stadium on Wednesday to begin preparations for Sunday's game against Cleveland.

Carruth, who has missed the past four games with a sprained ankle, was to have resumed practicing Wednesday, but Seifert said he has excused the player for at least the rest of the week. Seifert said he spoke with Carruth by telephone Tuesday and that he and the player agreed it would be best for Carruth to focus on off-field matters.

"Rae's on the team and he's going to be excused through this period of time," Seifert said. "I don't have a particular timetable."

Carruth's teammates tried to prevent the shooting from dominating their thoughts as they get ready for their trip to Cleveland.

Wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, whose locker is beside Carruth's, said he wanted to take a business-as-usual approach.

"It's no difference for me," Muhammad said. "I'm just going to go out and play hard. I'm preparing for this game just like any game."

Defensive end Chuck Wiley offered a different perspective, saying the Panthers consider Carruth part of their family. Because of that, Wiley said, the mood in the locker room is what might be expected.

"It's hurting," Wiley said. "What would you think if the same thing happened to your sister or brother?"

Fellow wide receiver Patrick Jeffers said the most difficult part was not knowing what actually happened on the darkened road in what is usually a quiet south Charlotte neighborhood.

"At this point all you can do is just wish the best for everyone," Jeffers said, "and hope that it doesn't turn out to be even more of a tragedy."