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North Carolina Wesleyan University’s Kira Kristjanson digs out a Meredith return as Katie Fulton watches during the Bishops’ home opener on Tuesday.

Felon who accidentally shot himself jailed

A local man is behind bars after having been charged with possession of a firearm by a felon after he accidentally shot himself late last week, police and judicial system records said.

The man, Malcolm Smith, 22, already is indicted in Nash County Superior Court for fleeing/eluding arrest by police, careless and reckless driving and driving without an operator’s license, all last autumn, the records said.

Smith was charged with the firearm-related offense after officers about 10 p.m. on Friday responded to the 1100 block of Gay Street in the Duke Circle area in reference to a shooting with injury, police spokesman Cpl. Ricky Jackson told the Telegram via email on Tuesday.

Officers saw Smith had sustained a graze wound to one of his thighs. The investigation determined Smith had accidentally shot himself in one of his legs, Jackson said.

Smith had a .357 revolver in his possession, Nash County District Court records said.

Smith on Tuesday was being held without bond in the Nash County Detention Center for having violated parole and also was being held on a $2,000 bond in the detention center for the firearm-related violation, the county sheriff’s online records said.

According to Nash County Superior Court records, a grand jury on Aug. 1 indicted Smith because on Nov. 24, 2021, he was driving more than 15 mph over the legal speed limit on U.S. 301 and Harbour West Drive and was trying to avoid being apprehended by a police officer.

State Public Safety records also said Smith was convicted on Dec. 16, 2021, in Nash County for speeding to elude arrest.

The records also said Smith was convicted in 2017 in Nash County for larceny of a motor vehicle and hit-and-run and in 2017 in Edgecombe County for larceny.

Smith had listed an address in the 1100 block of Gay Street, Nash County District Court records said.

Smith on Monday appeared before the court on the firearm-related violation. The court appointed attorney Richard Batts to represent him and ordered him to return to court on Oct. 6, the records said.

Word of the shooting late last week began circulating via the Fighting Crime News and Who’s Wanted Facebook page.

Jackson also said Smith is the same man who became part of a Telegram story published on Jan. 12.

Police for that story said Smith had ended up in Nash UNC Health Care on New Year’s Day with a gunshot wound to one of his hands.

Smith told officers he had been walking home on Edwards Street at the intersection of Aycock Street in the Cedar Brook area.

Smith saw a dark, late-model Nissan Altima with dark tinted windows whose driver was coming toward him when four shots were fired from the car, police said for the story.

Smith ran to his residence and a family member took him to the hospital, police said.

Pro fighter trains local jiu-jitsu students

John Salter calls jiu-jitsu a life-changing activity.

And considering that more than 30 people showed up to his seminar this past weekend at the Black Sheep Jiu-Jitsu gym, he might be right.

“I think it really does change peoples’ lives,” said Salter, the No. 3 ranked middleweight in the Bellator MMA organization. “For a lot of people, once you get out of school, it’s hard to find camaraderie.

“Kickboxing is cool, but you’re not going to kickbox into your 60s. I have guys in my gym who are in their 60s, and they still practice jiu-jitsu.”

Black Sheep owner Mark Bryant also has a wide cross section of people at his gym, including 60-year-old Cathy Dew, who participated in the jiu-jitsu part of Salter’s seminar.

“I started doing it about 20 years ago — for self-defense,” Dew said. “But it’s also for exercise and fitness.”

Bryant said he was happy with the turnout, and he was pleased with Salter’s attention to detail and down-to-earth attitude.

“The instruction was something every jiu-jitsu practitioner or MMA fighter could implement immediately,” he said.

Salter, a former middleweight MMA champion and 18-6 as a professional, focused on a series of chokeholds from a front headlock at the seminar. The move deals with using one’s gi, or jiu-jitsu uniform, as a weapon against one’s opponent.

“I enjoyed it,” Dew said. “The teaching seemed to work. You could feel the choke.”

Salter said he was glad to see more experienced practitioners at the seminar because he could focus more on the moves rather than the fundamentals.

“It’s nice to see all the brown belts and black belts,” he said. “They understand what I’m talking about. They understand the technique.”

In the world of jiu-jitsu though, some instructors teach “seminar moves,” Salter said.

“That’s a move that looks good, but it doesn’t really work,” he added. “I’ve taught this technique to a bunch of brown belts before, and they didn’t want to listen. I guess they thought it was a seminar move.

“So I had to use it and keep submitting them over and over when we sparred. I use it all the time when I compete.”

Bryant, a first-degree black belt who has been teaching martial arts since 2011, said he plans to incorporate the move into his repertoire.

During the seminar, Salter demonstrated the move and then everyone broke up into pairs to emulate the technique. Salter walked around the gym to ensure everyone was executing the procedure correctly, critiquing each person and offering tips along the way.

Chad Tyler, a second-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu, said he was impressed with Salter’s style of teaching.

“How he breaks down the technique is great,” Tyler said. “Even when he forgets something, he’ll go back over it and fix it.

“You don’t always see that with black belts. It’s an ego thing. If a black belt tells you he knows everything, he’s lying because the sport — martial arts — is constantly evolving.”

Jason Wingate, a first-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu, said he was glad to see someone of Salter’s stature in the local jiu-jitsu world.

“He’s a world-class fighter in a world-class organization,” he said.

But there were more inexperienced practitioners at the seminar, too. Holden Crickmore, 20, has been training in jiu-jitsu for just seven months. So getting a chance to learn from someone like Salter was exciting, he said.

“To have someone outside our circle of community and get that experience was great,” Crickmore said. “Techniques I’m learning (at the seminar) are above what I know.

“But you can really learn so much from him.”

Dew said she agreed, adding that the rise in popularity of MMA has changed the world of jiu-jitsu.

“When I first started, it was taboo to cross-train,” she said. “But with MMA around, you see more of these type of seminars.

“I’m glad (Bryant) is doing things like this for us.”

Council slated to interview first of five city manager candidates

The plan is for the City Council to interview via teleconferencing a candidate for the city manager position in a closed session immediately after the council’s regular meeting on Monday.

That is what interim City Manager Peter Varney told the Telegram on Wednesday in e-mail correspondence.

“We will work to get a date and time set for another meeting of the council for two more interviews possibly later in the week next week,” Varney said.

There are five candidates on the council’s list.

Varney said the plan is to, like the first candidate on Monday, interview the other four candidates via teleconferencing.

“It is my hope that the council could complete all of the interviews by the end of the first week in October,” Varney said. “When these interviews are completed, the council could then decide whom to interview in person.”

The council is searching for a city manager because Rochelle Small-Toney, who had served in the position since 2017, on Jan. 20 announced her retirement. Varney, a former longtime assistant city manager, became the temporary city manager.

The City Council, on April 19 and near the close of the first day of the municipality’s annual two-day retreat, agreed to recommend at the next council regular meeting to give the go-ahead to search firm POLIHIRE, based in Washington, D.C., and with eastern North Carolina ties, to help the seven-member panel find the future city manager.

Varney has said the plan as discussed was that POLIHIRE would work to bring candidates to the council for interviews and selection toward the end of July.

Varney has said, however, that no one could have predicted at the end of April that the May 17 municipal election would produce a runoff.

A three-way contest in City Council Ward 7 to succeed departing Councilwoman Chris Miller required a second round of voting on July 26. Jabaris “JKelly” Walker defeated Pete Armstrong in that second contest. Miller had been in office since 2002.

Varney for a story the Telegram published on Sept. 7 said that the search for the next city manager has been narrowed to five candidates that the council members wanted to interview.

The council selected the five after POLIHIRE President and CEO Kenyatta Uzzell, during a meeting in closed session with the council on Aug. 29, presented applications from seven candidates.

Rocky Mount has a City Council-city manager form of government, with the city manager being the one who oversees the municipality’s operations.

Rocky Mount’s council members each are elected on a staggered basis from council wards and Rocky Mount’s mayor is elected citywide.

Councilman Reuben Blackwell, who represents Ward 2, has been in office since 2000 and was re-elected on May 17. Councilman Richard Joyner, who represents Ward 2 and has been in office since 2018, also was re-elected on May 17.

Councilman Tom Harris, who represents Ward 6, was elected on May 17 to succeed the retiring W.B. Bullock, who had been in office since 2002.

Councilman Andre Knight, who represents Ward 1, has been in office since 2003 and was re-elected in 2019. Councilman T.J. Walker, who represents Ward 4, and Councilman Lige Daughtridge, who represents Ward 5, both were elected in 2019.

Mayor Sandy Roberson was elected in 2019 and he chairs council regular meetings, which are generally held twice a month.

The council Ward 1, Ward 4 and Ward 5 positions and the mayor’s positions will be up for election next year.

The council each year also chooses a council member to serve as mayor pro tem, with the mayor pro tem also chairing council work sessions, formally called Committee of the Whole meetings. Councilman T.J. Walker presently serves as the mayor pro tem.

The work sessions, which are generally held once a month, are key because the city manager and the council discuss matters the city manager and the council believe require a more in-depth discussion.

Nash board approves $400K grant request for Middlesex Corporate Centre

The Nash County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to authorize a grant application for a $400,000 state economic development grant to complete the roadway in the Middlesex Corporate Centre.

Patsy McGhee, assistant to the county manager, told the board that completing the roadway and sewer lines at the industrial park will cost an estimated $2.7 million. She noted the county has received a grant and applied for others to help fund the expansion project.

Golden LEAF has committed $500,000 for sewer improvements and the county has applied for $1.7 million for sewer and road improvements from the state Department of Commerce Industrial Development Fund, McGhee said. After the grant funds are applied to the project, the balance needed for the project’s completion would likely be funded with county money.

The board also approved measures that will double the number of Nash County deputies dedicated to highway safety. Beginning Oct. 1, there will be four deputies in the highway safety unit.

Maj. Allen Wilson of the sheriff’s office told the board the terms of a grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program calls for the state to contribute $407,000 for vehicles, equipment, salary and expenses and for the county to chip in $71,000 for a year’s participation.

Wilson said the program is designed to cut back on wreck-related injuries and deaths due to speeding, drunken driving and reckless driving in the county.

In other business, the board approved an ordinance authorizing the county to manage $177,000 in grant funds from the state Office of Budget and Management.

“These grant funds are to be used for the purpose of various local projects as detailed in the appropriations act,” county Finance Officer Donna Wood said.

The recipients include the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, Nash County’s volunteer fire departments, Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport and several nonprofit agencies.

The sheriff’s office is receiving $150,000 and the 15 fire departments in the county will evenly divide $300,000. The Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport and the Strategic Twin County Education Partnership are both receiving $100,000. The City of Refuge nonprofit organization is receiving $50,000. Ripe Revival is receiving $75,000 in funding.

“The sheriff’s office plans to use the funds to assist with the purchase of a BearCat to be used for tactical or emergency response,” Wood said.

The Lenco BearCat is an armored vehicle suitable for use by the military and law enforcement. According to the manufacturer, the BearCat is ideal for off-road and rural missions, seats 10 to 12 officers and has the capability to safely extract injured victims or personnel.

In other business, there will be fireworks on the schedule on Oct. 1 for the 50th Annual Pumpkin Festival in Spring Hope.

The board unanimously approved an ordinance to allow the Nash County Fire Marshal’s Office to grant Wetzel Pyrotechnics permission to put on a fireworks show at the event.