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4 N.C. officers killed, 4 others wounded in shooting while serving warrant

A fourth Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer has died in a shooting that killed three others and wounded four

APTOPIX Officers Shot Charlotte

Multiple law enforcement vehicles respond in the neighborhood where several officers on a task force trying to serve a warrant were shot in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, April 29, 2024.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/The Charlotte Observer via AP

By Jeff A. Chamer, Mary Ramsey and Ryan Oehrli
The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In one of the nation’s most devastating attacks on law enforcement in generations, a suspect fired a high-powered rifle at officers in east Charlotte on Monday afternoon, killing four and injuring four others.

A little after 9:30 p.m. Eastern time, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Officer Joshua Eyer passed away from the injuries he sustained while assisting officers with apprehending the suspect. He initially was in critical condition after the incident.

The suspect was holed up in a home on Galway Drive in the Shannon Park neighborhood when a U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force approached, trying to serve a warrant on a felon for possession of a firearm. Three members of the task force — a U.S. marshal and two officers from the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction — were killed and a fourth shot. Scores of CMPD officers raced to the scene, and four of them were shot as well.

Details of the encounter have not been released, but officers shot back, striking the suspect. He later died in the home’s front yard. Two others in the home were taken into custody.

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said it was the worst attack on law enforcement in his memory in his 30-plus years with the department.

Mayor Vi Lyles, who spoke after Jennings, fought back tears as she reacted to the events from earlier that afternoon.

“We’ve lost three people,” Lyles said, at a time when Ayers was still in critical condition. “They gave us the opportunity to be in a safe place and they lost their lives.”

Also Monday, President Joe Biden also spoke with Lyles to express his condolences and support for the community.

Ayes was the only victim whose name was released so far. Ayers served in the department’s North Tryon Division for six years, CMPD said, and was a member of the 178th recruit class.

“We’ll always be indebted to Officer Eyer for his bravery and his sacrifice for this profession,” Jennings said Monday night while addressing reporters. “It was just (recently), I was in this very room, congratulating Officer Eyer for becoming Officer of the Month in April. He certainly dedicated his life, and gave his life to serve our citizens.”

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‘Sounded like Vietnam’

Some neighbors, like Larry Mackey, lived close enough to see the firefight.

“All of a sudden it sounded like Vietnam out there,” Mackey said.

When a Charlotte Observer reporter called him around 3:45 p.m., Mackey estimated that there were 30 or 40 police cars at the scene.

Whoever was in the house was still there, he said.

“There was a litany of gunfire, just an enormous amount,” said a neighbor, who said she heard pops from inside her shower. She requested to remain anonymous, citing safety concerns.

The home where the shooting occurred had police cars in front of it twice since the woman neighbor moved in in October, she said. Now, it was surrounded by at least 150 officers and snipers perched on neighbors’ homes. A negotiation tent popped up around 3 p.m. — after officers “dragged” one of the shot officers into an ambulance, she said.

The residence in the 5000 block of Galway Drive where it happened was cleared and the area deemed safe, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said around 5 p.m., about three hours after the shooting.

Lyles said she spoke to the White House, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson, Speaker of the North Carolina House Tim Moore, and the president of the North Carolina state senate, Phil Berger.

Along with other law enforcement agencies, CMPD will remain at the scene to conduct an investigation. Some roadways in the neighborhood will remain closed, CMPD said.

Earlier, CMPD urged people to “steer clear of the area. Residents stay inside of your homes. Multiple victims transported to nearby hospitals. Gunfire continues on scene. More information to come from CMPD.”

The department said CMPD SWAT was also on the scene “and continuing to work through the incident.”

Lyles posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: “I am 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.”

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement Monday afternoon confirming the deaths involved a U.S. marshal.

“Every single day, Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers put their lives on the line to apprehend some of our country’s most dangerous criminals,” Garland said. “Today, three of those dedicated public servants made the ultimate sacrifice. Multiple other officers were critically injured while carrying out this operation to protect their community.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call the CMPD Crime Stoppers anonymous tips line at (704) 334-1600.

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