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4 N.C. law enforcement officers were shot and killed trying to serve a warrant

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Charlotte, N.C., is mourning one of the deadliest days for law enforcement in the city's history and one of the deadliest nationally in recent memory.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Three U.S. marshals and a local police officer were shot and killed yesterday. Another marshal and three Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers were wounded. They were serving a warrant at a house for weapons charges. The suspect who would have been served the warrant also was killed.

MARTÍNEZ: Kenneth Lee with member station WFAE in Charlotte was at the scene yesterday. Kenneth, what do we know about how the shooting happened?

KENNETH LEE, BYLINE: Hi, good morning. Well, we know officers were serving a warrant at a home in east Charlotte on Monday afternoon around 1:30. They were looking for a suspect wanted for a possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The operation was led by a U.S. Marshals Service Regional Fugitive Task Force. It's one of many such task forces across the country that bring together federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate and apprehend fugitives.

According to the police, things took a wrong turn when the suspect opened fire from their yard. The officers returned fire and killed the suspect, but then a second person started shooting at them from the inside of the house. An hours-long standoff ended when SWAT team members were able to go inside. They took two other people into custody, one juvenile and one adult woman.

MARTÍNEZ: Wow. OK, now, four law enforcement members were killed, four more wounded. What can you tell us about those officers?

LEE: Well, one of the slain officers is Joshua Eyer, a six-year veteran with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The chief, Johnny Jennings, described recently awarding Eyer as the officer of the month. And he choked up describing the loss.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

JOHNNY JENNINGS: He's survived by his wife, Ashley, and his 3-year-old son, Andrew. We'll always be indebted to Officer Eyer for his bravery and his sacrifice for this profession.

LEE: The North Carolina Department of Adult Correction also said that two of its officers assigned to the task force have died.

MARTÍNEZ: Wow. Kenneth, how does this compare to other fatal law enforcement incidents in the city?

LEE: During the press conference, Chief Jennings said he couldn't recall a time where so many multiple officers were shot at once in Charlotte. In the last three decades, there've only been two incidents where multiple officers were killed here. The most recent was in 2007 when two CMPD officers were shot and killed. And it also appears to be one of the worst law enforcement days nationally in recent history.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah. What do we know about the people inside the house?

LEE: Well, police haven't released much. They identified the suspect who was killed as 39-year-old Terry Hughes, who was wanted for multiple charges. The two other juveniles who were taken into custody have not been identified. We don't know what their relationship is to Hughes or if they lived in the house. So far they're being questioned, but it's unclear if they're under arrest or if one of them is believed to be the second shooter. The chief said there's still a lot of unanswered questions. Right now they're really just trying to put together what happened and why.

MARTÍNEZ: That's WFAE reporter Kenneth Lee in Charlotte. Kenneth, thanks.

LEE: Thank you, guys.

(SOUNDBITE OF KYLE MCEVOY AND SUNSHINE RECORDER'S "RED")

MARTÍNEZ: And an update to one of the top stories we're following. In New York City, Columbia University students protesting against the war in Gaza are occupying a campus building this morning. They did so after the university began suspending students who refused to leave the encampments. Student leaders say they are prepared if the university decides to bring the police in to arrest them. We'll have more on this story elsewhere on the program and throughout the day.

(SOUNDBITE OF KYLE MCEVOY AND SUNSHINE RECORDER'S "RED") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
Kenneth Lee