South Carolina

Charlotte Bloods gang ‘civil war’ triggered Fort Mill shootout, prosecutors say

A shootout near Fort Mill in September 2018 that left two people wounded was the result of a Charlotte Bloods gang “civil war” that spread to York County, prosecutors said in court

Police and prosecutors had said since the September shootings of two people near an apartment complex that the people involved were gang members of the Bloods from Charlotte. In court on Wednesday, one of the suspects accused of being the triggerman sought to get out of jail on bond. Prosecutors opposed his release on grounds of keeping the public safe from spillover Charlotte violence.

Prosecutors sought to keep Willis Gus Lane, 19, of Charlotte in jail pending trial saying he is an “extreme danger to the community.”

Lane is charged in York County with three counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He has been jailed without bond since his arrest days after the violence.

“There is a civil war among members of the Bloods gang,” prosecutors said in court Wednesday. “The last thing the solicitor’s office wants is for York County to turn into Mecklenburg County with gang violence spilling over the state line.”

Some of the guns recovered from the shootout were stolen and had been used in Charlotte shootings, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the victims who were shot, also Bloods, had moved to Fort Mill to escape routine weekend gun violence in Charlotte.

Lane had an AK-47 pistol that matched shell casings found at the Fort Mill crime scene when arrested in Charlotte after the shooting in September, prosecutors said. Besides two people getting wounded inside one car, another car was shot into and a York County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s car was hit during the shootout, prosecutors said.

The shooting happened as a deputy was driving by the intersection of U.S 21 and Gold Hill Road about a mile south of the state line. The officer saw the muzzle flash of the guns. Police then chased the suspects north on Interstate 77.

“We have been and will remain very aggressive so that the public can be safe in York County,” said Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit solicitor, said after Wednesday’s hearing.

After the shootout, York County deputies arrested 10 people that police said were connected to the Bloods gang. Included among the 10 were the two people who were wounded in the fracas. They both face weapons charges.

Attempted murder charges against three people -- Andrae Smith, Keanu Camacho, and Kwantavius Howze -- have been dismissed after alibis cleared them from being at the scene, prosecutors said.

One person has pleaded guilty to a weapons charge. According to court records, Eddie Davis, 22, of Charlotte was sentenced to 83 days in jail for unlawful carrying of a pistol.

Six others, including Lane, still face charges, records show.

Lane’s lawyer, Robby Bruce, said there were weapons in all the cars involved and charges against three others already are dismissed.

“There were a lot of people involved and a lot of guns,” Bruce said in court.

York County Circuit Court Judge Bill McKinnon denied Lane’s request for bond because Lane is a danger to the public and a flight risk.

“I find that he is a danger to the community, and also the fact that he is a North Carolina resident increases the flight risk,” McKinnon said.

No trial dates have been set for Lane or the other defendants.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer