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North Carolina shootout that killed 4 law officers began as task force tried to serve a warrant

Police said two people inside the house started shooting as the officers approached.
Officers Shot Charlotte
Posted at 9:25 AM, Apr 30, 2024

A shootout that killed four law enforcement officers and wounded four others in North Carolina began as officers approached a home to serve a warrant for a felon wanted for possessing a firearm, police said.

Some of the officers who rushed to the Charlotte neighborhood Monday afternoon to rescue the first wave of downed officers were wounded as a second shooter began firing on them after they killed the wanted man, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said.

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

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.

Early Tuesday, Jennings said there were 100 rounds of projectiles and casings collected on the scene, along with an AR-15 style weapon, a 40 caliber handgun and rounds of ammunition for both firearms.

Jennings revealed that 12 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers fired their service weapons. They will be placed on paid administrative leave amid an investigation.

The U.S. Marshals Task Force was fired on by the wanted suspect as they approached the house and the man was killed in the front yard, Jennings said. Police identified him as Terry Clark Hughes Jr., 39. He was wanted for possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts of felony flee to elude in Lincoln County, North Carolina. A second person then fired on officers from inside the home, where a high-powered rifle was found, Jennings added.

After the police department's Special Weapons and Tactics Team negotiated with other people in the house, two females came out and were taken to a police station to be interviewed by detectives, police said in a news release. Previously, police had said a woman and 17-year-old male were being questioned.

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The Marshal’s Service confirmed one of its agents was killed. The North Carolina Department of Adult Correction identified two of the task force officers killed as Sam Poloche and Alden Elliot. Both had been with the department for 14 years. They served as probation/parole officers before joining the department’s Special Operations and Intelligence Unit, the department said. Poloche joined in 2013 and Elliot in 2016.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Joshua Eyer died a few hours later at the hospital, 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,” 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.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper was in Charlotte and was speaking to the families of the officers killed and hurt.

Neighbors said gunfire lasted for several minutes.

WSOC-TV said its helicopter captured footage of 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.

“A lot of the questions that need to be answered, we don’t even know what those questions are now," Jennings said, somberly briefing reporters 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.”

The neighborhood of one– and two-story 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 neighbor, 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.”