Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was sought on first-degree murder charges tonight and faces the death penalty if convicted after his girlfriend died of wounds from a shooting last month.

Carruth and three other men were originally charged with conspiracy, attempted murder and related charges in the Nov. 16 shooting of 24-year-old Cherica Adams. He was freed on $3 million bail on the earlier charges.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police issued a warrant for Carruth's arrest, but he had not been detained as of early this evening.

"I [finally] talked with him . . . after speaking with his mother several times through the day," said Carruth's lawyer, George Laughrun. "I told him he needs to turn himself in. I'm waiting on another call from him."

His mother, Theodry Carruth, said her son will surrender to authorities. "He's going to turn himself in," she said. "He's not going to resist arrest."

Charlotte television stations reported that police were staking out Carruth's south Charlotte home and had searched inside the house, but found no sign of him. Police refrained from calling Carruth a fugitive.

Adams died early in the afternoon surrounded by family, said Scott White, a spokesman at Carolinas Medical Center.

She was 6 1/2 months pregnant when she was shot four times in the neck and chest from a passing vehicle, forcing an emergency delivery of her baby boy.

Carruth was in a car near where Adams was shot, and the three other men were in a separate vehicle, prosecutors said. Carruth and the other men allegedly were in contact by cell phone.

The three other defendants were jailed on $1.5 million bail each. Prosecutors said they will also file first-degree murder charges against them.

The condition of the baby, Chancellor Lee Adams, has improved in the weeks since the shooting. He was moved out of a neonatal intensive care nursery this month.

The Panthers were walking off their practice field when they were told of Adams's death.

"It's the worst, worst possible scenario and news any of us could have ever thought of," quarterback Steve Beuerlein said. "Our hearts in the Panthers' organization go out to the family."