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4 police officers killed in shooting at home in Charlotte, North Carolina

North Carolina — Four officers were killed in a shooting while attempting to serve a warrant at a home in Charlotte, North Carolina, including one deputy US marshal and two local task force officers, authorities say.

Four other law enforcement officers were shot during the incident, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said Monday evening.

An internal law enforcement memo reviewed by CNN shows officers are looking for the person who bought the firearm used in the shooting to potentially bring federal charges.

Law enforcement agents are still processing the scene, the memo says, and will use that evidence to help in their search.

The compound tragedy adds to a growing list of officers shot and killed in the line of duty this year. At least 98 officers were shot in the line of duty from January through March, according to the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization representing US law enforcement officers. Ten of those officers died.

The shooting in Charlotte happened as members of a US Marshals fugitive task force were serving a warrant for possession of firearm by a convicted felon in the Shannon Park neighborhood, Jennings said.

The officers were met with gunfire from a “high-powered rifle” and returned fire, fatally shooting a suspect in the front yard of the house. Jennings said the task force had been serving the warrant to that suspect.

“As officers approached, they received additional gunfire from inside the residence,” the police chief said.

Three members of the marshals’ task force were fatally shot, Jennings said. One of those killed was a deputy US marshal, the US Marshals Service told CNN in a statement.

Two of the officers killed, Sam Poloche and Alden Elliott, worked for the state’s Department of Adult Correction, according to Todd Ishee, the department’s secretary.

Both were 14-year veterans of the department assigned to the task force. Poloche leaves behind a wife and two children. Elliott leaves behind a wife and one child.

One of the fatally wounded officers, Joshua Eyer, died from his injuries “with his wife and family by his side” after fighting for several hours, police said. The six-year veteran of the CMPD is survived by his wife and 3-year-old son, Jennings said during a Monday evening news conference.

“Officer Eyer was 6-year veteran with the CMPD, and I am truly grateful for his bravery, service and ultimate sacrifice. He will never be forgotten, and we are forever indebted,” Jennings posted on X.

“It was just last month I was in this very room, congratulating Officer Eyer for becoming officer of the month,” Jennings said during the news conference. “He certainly dedicated his life and gave his life to serve our citizens.

The injured Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers were in stable condition, Jennings said.

Authorities identified the deceased suspect as 39-year-old Terry Clark Hughes Jr. He was wanted for possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts of felony flee to elude out of Lincoln County, North Carolina, police said.

The internal law enforcement memo gives a detailed outline of Monday’s shooting, revealing law enforcement agents approached the suspect outside of a home. Hughes retreated into the home before he could be arrested, it said.

As law enforcement agents set up a perimeter around the residence, the memo said, Hughes opened fire with what was likely an AR-15-style rifle from a second-story window, striking 8 officers, the memo said.

Hughes then jumped out of the second story window onto an awning and officers shot and killed Hughes, the memo said.

Police initially believed there might have been another suspect shooting from inside the residence, but Jennings told CNN on Tuesday it’s likely Hughes was moving through different parts of the home.

“Unfortunately, this individual decided to greet them with gunfire, and it just turned into a tragic event for the officers who were originally out on the scene and the officers who responded to try and assist,” Jennings told CNN.

Two women, including a 17-year-old, were brought outside of the home after police secured the scene, Jennings added. The women were taken to the Charlotte Law Enforcement Center to be interviewed by detectives, police said.

“We are very early in the investigation,” Jennings said Monday. “CMPD will lead this investigation, we still have a lot to uncover, a lot of questions that are not answered right now.”

Officers killed in line of duty was highest on record in 2023, data shows

There were 378 officers shot in the line of duty in 2023 – the highest number on record since the Fraternal Order of Police began tracking the data. They included 46 officers killed by gunfire and 20 killed in ambush-style attacks, according to the Fraternal Order of Police.

“Many will often look at this data and just see numbers, but we MUST remember that they represent heroes — fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters,” Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes said after the organization released the data. “This scale of violence against our officers is horrifying and simply unsustainable. It is no wonder that our profession is facing a recruitment and retention crisis.”

In 2022, there were 331 officers shot in the line of duty, including 62 by gunfire and 32 killed in ambush-style attacks, according to the Fraternal Order of Police. The year before, 346 officers were shot in the line of duty, including 63 by gunfire, the data shows.

The increased violence against police officers in the past few years mirrors the broader rise in shooting and violence in the U.S. since 2020.

Criminology experts such as Thomas Abt, a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice, have cited a few potential explanations: the fraying of social connections due to the Covid-19 pandemic; the murder of George Floyd and resulting rise in public distrust of police and a surge in firearm sales and gun ownership.

While theories behind any violent crime vary, the FBI has tried to piece together an explanation of why some people attack police officers.

‘They are heroes,’ Biden says.

The police chief described the shooting as “the most tragic one” he had been involved with in his 32-year-long law enforcement career.

“I can’t remember an incident where three law enforcement officers were killed in the same incident, as well as one in critical condition and additional (officers) that were shot and injured,” Jennings said.

President Joe Biden spoke with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper after the shooting, the White House said Monday. Later, Biden issued a statement calling the officers “heroes.”

“They are heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, rushing into harm’s way to protect us,” the president said. “We mourn for them and their loved ones. And we pray for the recoveries of the courageous officers who were wounded.”

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said in a statement she is “deeply saddened by the shooting that occurred that involved Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers and US Marshals today.”

“I ask that all Charlotteans keep them, the other injured officers, and their families in your thoughts and prayers during this incredibly difficult time,” Lyles said.

In a post on X, the US Marshals Service wrote, “Our hearts are heavy tonight for the lives shattered by today’s horrific shooting in Charlotte, NC. We mourn the loss of our Deputy and two Task Force Officers. We are grateful for all the support, and we keep the families and colleagues of all officers involved, in our thoughts.”

Copyright CNN



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