Suspect dead as four officers killed and four wounded in Charlotte shooting

Members of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department were shot at as they attempted to serve a warrant

Mike Bedigan,Kelly Rissman,Namita Singh
Tuesday 30 April 2024 13:10 BST
Four law enforcement officers killed in shooting, standoff in Charlotte

Four law enforcement officers were killed during a shootout in Charlotte, North Carolina, after trying to serve a warrant at a home.

The incident took place around 1.30pm as members of US Marshals Fugitive Task Force attempted to serve a warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon at a suburban home in Charlotte, reported USA Today.

The suspect opened fire at the officers with a “high-powered rifle” as they approached the residence, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) Chief Johnny Jennings.

Officers returned fire and hit an individual, who was later pronounced dead in the front yard.

Some of the officers who rushed to the Charlotte neighbourhood to rescue the first wave of downed officers were wounded as a second shooter began firing on them after they killed the wanted man. His name was not released but the chief said he was wanted as a felon illegally possessing a weapon.

“Today’s an absolutely tragic day for the city of Charlotte and for the profession of law enforcement,” Mr Jennings said at a news conference. “Today we lost some heroes that are just simply trying to keep our community safe.”

After a three-hour standoff, the suburban Charlotte home was torn open. Armored vehicles smashed into it, ripping off windows and entire doorways that were left broken. Several armored vehicles were parked across yards, some with tree branches dangling off them.

A second person then fired on officers from inside the home where a high-powered rifle was found, Mr Jennings added.

A woman and a 17-year-old male were found in the home after the standoff. The two are being questioned, he said.

The Marshal’s Service confirmed one of its agents was killed. Two officers from the state Department of Adult Correction also were killed, said North Carolina governor Roy Cooper. The governor was in Charlotte and was speaking to the families of the officers killed and hurt. Their names have not been released.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Joshua Eyer died a few hours later at the hospital, Mr Jennings said. Eyer was named the officer of the month for the force for April a few weeks ago, the chief said. “He certainly gave his life and dedicated his life to protecting our citizens,” Mr Jennings said.

One other member of the task force, which is made up of federal agents and other officers from across the region, was injured. Three other Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers who responded to the scene were shot while trying to rescue the wounded officers.

“This is a good example of what we try to tell people every single day, that when we put on this uniform, that we don’t have any guarantees that we will return home,” Mr Jennings told the conference. “Yet we have a lot of great men and women across this entire country that do it every single day to make sure that you’re safe and your communities.”

At around 5pm local time, following the shootout in the residential area, police announced that “at least one” shooting suspect was deceased and that the area was safe.

“The residence on Galway Drive is now clear, and the area is safe. Residents no longer need to shelter in place,” the force wrote. “At least one shooting suspect was located deceased at the residence after clearing the scene.

Officers were attempting to serve a warrant at a residence in east Charlotte when they were met with gunfire
Officers were attempting to serve a warrant at a residence in east Charlotte when they were met with gunfire (AP)

“CMPD is questioning two other occupants of the home. CMPD and other law enforcement agencies will be at the scene to conduct the investigation. Some roadways in the neighborhood will remain closed. Please remain patient and cooperate with officers.”

“We know some answers, but we still have many that we have to clear up and in many that we have to continue to work on until we can really lock down,” Chief Jennings told reporters.

At Monday’s press conference, Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles became emotional as she addressed reporters.

“We’ve lost three people. They lost their lives after they gave us the opportunity to be in a safe place, and they lost their lives,” she said.

“These are people that care deeply about what they’ve done for our profession. And now today we have to say to them, how much we are grateful for what they have done.”

Neighbour Tyler Wilson told WBTV that officers had streamed into his home, including one who appeared to use his window to aim a sniper rifle.

At one point, Mr Wilson told the outlet, an injured officer had been dragged through his home by his shoulders, though he was not able to see the extent of the officer’s injuries.

He described the scene as “gunfire galore,” with officers army-crawling through his backyard, hiding behind trees, and jumping around bushes.

Officers ordered Mr Wilson and two others in the home to hide in a back room as the gunfire was ongoing.

Rissa Reign was cleaning her house when she heard the first shots ring out. There was a pause, then a second set of shots and then a third.

She stepped outside. “When we came outside, there were no cops at all, then cops started rushing, rushing, rushing, rushing in,” she said, adding armoured SWAT trucks quickly followed and they “were going over the grass, everything, and they started shooting again.”

Following news of the unfolding incident, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper posted on X that he was in contact with law enforcement “concerning the tragic shooting” and had offered state resources to help.

Many roads in the area, including Interstate 77, were closed so ambulances could get to hospitals faster. TV footage showed ambulances speeding to hospitals escorted by vehicles both in front and behind with their sirens wailing.

The neighbourhood, of one- and two-storey brick homes and small trimmed lawns, is very safe, said Alex Rivera, who lives on a street nearby.

“I see, like, 50 police cars zooming in, and then I hear gunshots,” he said on the front porch of the house he shares with his cousin.

“I was scared, because there was so much going on.” Another neighbour, William Cunningham, was moved to tears as he sat on his porch. He said he is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm but never expected such violence in his own neighborhood.“Bless those officers and bless their families,” he said. “Nobody should get killed over a warrant.”

Four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were placed on lockdown around afternoon dismissal, but that was lifted in the late afternoon, the district said.Police urged people to stay away from the neighborhood and asked residents to remain inside their homes until the all clear was given.President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting and spoke with Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles to express his condolences and support for the community.

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis tweeted: “An attack in Charlotte on our brave law enforcement officers who swore an oath to protect and serve us all. Susan and I are praying for everyone’s safety.”

Additional reporting by the agencies

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