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3 law officers killed, 5 others wounded trying to serve warrant in North Carolina, authorities say

By ERIK VERDUZCO and PETER SMITH, Associated Press
Published: April 29, 2024, 4:54pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Three officers on a U.S. Marshals Task Force serving a warrant for a felon wanted for possessing a firearm were killed and five other officers were wounded in a shootout Monday at a North Carolina home, police said.

Shots were fired at the officers by the wanted suspect as they approached the suburban home in Charlotte and they killed him in the front yard, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said at a news conference.

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

A woman and a 17-year-old male were found in the home after a three-hour standoff that included armored vehicles crashing into the suburban home in a tree-lined neighborhood and tearing off doorways and windows. The two are being questioned, Jennings said.

“Today we lost some heroes who were out simply trying to keep our community safe,” Jennings said.

The Marshal’s Service confirmed one of its agents was killed and did not release a name. Two officers from the state Department of Adult Correction also were killed, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

One other member of the task force, which is made up of federal agents and other officers from across the region was injured.

Four Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers who responded to the scene were also shot while trying to rescue the wounded officers. One of them remains in critical condition, Jennings said.

Neighbors said gunfire continued for several minutes.

WSOC-TV said their helicopter captured an armored vehicle driving through yards and knocking over recycling bins before officers removed a person with blood on their shirt who was then loaded into an ambulance.

After the home was cleared, the helicopter pilot said he couldn’t show the front lawn of the home because the scene was too graphic and disturbing.

Several armored vehicles were on nearby lawns and driveways of the older suburban neighborhood of a tree-lined street with brick homes. A shattered window, blinds torn, was in a street and a entire doorway was leaning against of one of the vehicles.

“A lot of the questions that need to be answered, we don’t even know what those questions are now,” Jennings said less than four hours after the shooting. “We have to get a full understanding of why this occurred and also uphold the integrity of the investigation.”

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.

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 armored SWAT trucks quickly followed and they “were going over the grass, everything, and they started shooting again.”

Kiashia Williams was driving home when she heard several shots separated by a few seconds.

“Ambulances, police and everything everywhere just started rushing down,” said Williams as she waited in her car to be allowed to go home and check on her daughter, who broadcast what she saw on social media.

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.

The last marshal shot and killed in the line of duty was in November 2018. Chase White was shot in Tucson, Arizona, by a man wanted for stalking local law enforcement officers, the agency said.

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The Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force is headquartered in Charlotte with 70 federal, state and local agencies. Fugitive task forces are collaborations between agencies to find and arrest suspects in crimes.

In six years, the regional task force has apprehend more than 8,900 fugitives, the U.S. Marshals Service said on its website.

In March 2007, two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers were killed responding to a domestic dispute by someone not directly involved in the fight. Demeatrius Antonio Montgomery is serving a life sentence in the killings of officers Jeffrey Shelton and Sean Clark.

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