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DOWNTOWN VIOLENCE: Busy start to holiday weekend for WPD

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Last call downtown was the start of problems for Wilmington Police this holiday weekend. Officers working downtown encountered large crowds and responded to several fights when bars closed at 2 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release.

Police say they broke up a very large fight with about 50 to 60 people at 2nd and Princess. Then, around 2:31 a.m. a WPD officer on foot patrol near N. 2nd and Market Streets heard a single gunshot that sounded like it came from one block east. As she and another officer responded to the area, New Hanover County Sheriff's deputies radioed that they were in the 100 block of N. 2nd Street with a man who had been shot in the leg. When officers got there, a 17-year-old was sitting in the passenger's seat of a van his brother was driving, and they apparently were trying to leave the scene when deputies stopped them. WPD officers interviewed both brothers, and their stories varied somewhat. A witness near the scene gave a third version of what had happened. All three men said there had been a fight prior to the shooting. The witness said he knew who did the shooting, but he would not provide the information. The victim was transported for treatment. His injury did not appear to be life-threatening. The case is under investigation.

Around 2:38 a.m., one of the same officers was dispatched to the 100 block of N. 3rd Street for a report of someone being cut on the arm. When the officer arrived at the scene, EMS was preparing to take an 18-year-old man to the hospital. A WPD supervisor at the scene found a blood trail leading from where the victim had been found to the intersection of 2nd and Princess Streets. At the hospital, the victim told police he had been walking through a crowd, but did not know exactly where he was when he felt something hit his arm. He said when he looked down he saw that he was bleeding. The victim would not give police more information.

Investigators say the shooting and knife cut could be related.

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