Colts' Lane Found Shot To Death

Thursday, July 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts running back Fred Lane, whose brushes with the law increased as his once solid career faded, was found shot to death Thursday in his Charlotte home.

Lane's wife, Deidra, was being questioned and ``it does appear to be a case of domestic violence,'' police spokesman Keith Bridges said.

``Nothing should be read into it at this time,'' Bridges said. ``Right now we're looking into what took place prior to the shooting.''

Lane, 24, was pronounced dead at 3:15 p.m. at the house in a newer neighborhood south of town, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Chuck Johnson said.

The shooting was ``a homicide, but (that) doesn't mean it wasn't justified,'' Johnson said.

A 7-day-old infant was with Deidra Lane at the police station. Their house was decorated with pink balloons and a pink stork. The Lanes also have a 5-year-old son.

Lane was traded by Carolina to Indianapolis in April.

Lane's father, Fred Lane Sr., said his son and daughter-in-law had been having difficulties recently. Lane had spent the past couple of weeks at the family home in Nashville, Tenn., but visited Charlotte briefly a week ago, his father said.

He had left Tennessee on a flight to Charlotte about two hours before he was shot, the elder Lane said.

Deidra Lane filed a complaint against her husband in March, saying he snatched a necklace from around her neck during an argument, causing her to fall. She did not press charges.

Lane also had a case pending against him related to his Feb. 3 arrest in Tennessee. A grand jury in Jackson, Tenn., indicted him Monday on the misdemeanor drug charges, but prosecutors dropped weapons charges against him, saying there wasn't enough evidence to support it.

The Panthers suspended Lane for one game in 1998 when he made a lewd gesture to fans at Giants Stadium after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets. The same season, he was demoted to special teams duty after missing a team flight to Dallas, and later apologized for refusing to stand for the national anthem at a game in Buffalo.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Lane was the leading career rusher for the Panthers.

At the time of his trade, Carolina coach George Seifert said team owner Jerry Richardson never ordered him to drop Lane, but he knew the Panthers had to cut their ties with troublesome players.

Lane spent three seasons with Carolina and finished with 2,004 yards rushing.

Lane Sr. said his son had been training in Indianapolis before visiting Tennessee. ``Everything was going great,'' in his son's life, he said.

Lane is one of two former Panthers to face legal troubles in recent months.

Rae Carruth, the Panthers' top 1997 draft pick, was charged last fall with fatally shooting his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. Carruth is being held without bond in Charlotte, while he awaits trial.

The Panthers re-signed Lane before the 1999 season to a two-year, $1.276 million contract with a $300,000 signing bonus. Lane shared rushing duties with Tshimanga Biakabutuka but played largely as a backup late in the season.

In what would be his last game for Carolina, Lane started for an injured Biakabutuka and rushed for a season-high 90 yards and his only touchdown of the season in a loss at Pittsburgh.