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Epicentre adds metal detector during CIAA tournament

WCNC Charlotte is learning about controversial steps aimed at security, as CIAA weekend tips off in Uptown.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A metal detector is now in place at the Epicentre in uptown Charlotte as the CIAA tournament continues.

The Epicentre,, a popular spot for nightlife, put the added security measures in place after a series of violent crimes over the years; most of them related to non-sanctioned parties aimed at attracting visitors in town for the tournament.

The most notable was back in 2017 when rapper, Young Dolph, was the apparent target of a shooting on North Graham Street.  As many as 100 shots were fired and some of the bullets hit nearby buildings.

WCNC Charlotte talked to visitors to Charlotte who had mixed reaction about the metal detector.   Some people say the significant police presence outside the Epicentre should be enough, but others are glad to see the metal detector.

Akili Abel says before she visited Charlotte, people recommended she go to the Epicentre. However, she says the metal detector negatively impacted her experience.

“I literally saw people wrapped around here (the Epicentre),” Abel said. “It just slows down everything, by the time you get to where you’re going, it kind of puts a damper, you have to re get yourself in the mood.”

Abel is from Baltimore where the CIAA tournament will move next year.  A representative for the Epicentre tells WCNC Charlotte the large event prompted the screening process.  Another woman visiting Charlotte from Virginia says she felt safer going through the metal detector.

“More of a chance nobody was carrying a weapon or anything like that, (it) was a good thing,” she said.

“I do feel safer knowing they’re taking extra precautions, but at the same time it kind of makes me feel like the club or atmosphere might not be somewhere I need to be,” said a Charlotte resident.

There has been some trouble in the past during CIAA weekend.  In 2017, rapper Young Dolph was in the crossfire when 100 gunshots were fired in Uptown.  He not only lived to write about the shooting, but he returned to the event this year.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department says when violent crime has happened during CIAA, it’s typically at venues not officially affiliated with the tournament.

“The tournament itself has been a safe event through the years,” says CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes.

A representative for the Epicentre sent WCNC Charlotte the following statement:  “As the safety of our guests is always a top priority, Epicentre employs a wide range of security measures, which may include the use of screening devices as is commonly practiced at properties across the country as well as at large events here in Charlotte.”

Some people say the significant police presence is the answer.

“I feel like police presence should be enough,” Abel said.

However, others say the extra peace of mind from the metal detector was worth a brief wait.

“I felt comfortable, and the wait was not long,” another woman said.

WCNC Charlotte asked the representative of the Epicentre if the metal detector is permanent or if it will be taken down after the tournament, but WCNC Charlotte did not get an answer to that question.

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