📷 Key players Meteor shower up next 📷 Leaders at the dais 20 years till the next one
Charlotte, NC

4 law enforcement officers killed while serving warrant in North Carolina, authorities say

Four law enforcement officers, including three on a U.S. Marshals Task Force, were killed and four other officers were injured Monday after being shot while attempting to serve a warrant in Charlotte, North Carolina, authorities said.

Around 1:30 p.m., members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force were attempting to serve a warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon at a suburban home in Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) Chief Johnny Jennings said during a news conference. The suspect opened fire at the officers with a "high-powered rifle" as they approached the residence, according to Jennings.

Officers returned gunfire and struck the suspect, who was later pronounced deceased in the front yard of the residence, Jennings said. A second person inside the residence then fired on officers.

After a "long standoff," Jennings said officers cleared the residence and took two people inside the home, including a 17-year-old, into custody for questioning. Jennings said it is believed that at least one of the two had fired on the officers.

"Today is an absolute tragic day for the city of Charlotte and for the profession of law enforcement," Jennings said during the news conference. "Today we lost some heroes that are out there simply trying to keep our community safe."

Three members of the U.S. Marshals task force were pronounced dead, according to Jennings. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police later confirmed that the officer critically wounded in the shooting died at the hospital.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that two officers killed were working with the U.S. Marshals task force at the time and were from the state Department of Adult Correction.

"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," the U.S. Marshals Service said on X. "We are grateful for all the support, and we keep the families and colleagues of all officers involved, in our thoughts."

Law enforcement officers identified

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Officer Joshua Eyer died Monday night from his injuries. Eyer had served the police department's North Tryon Division for six years, the department added.

"We are forever indebted to Officer Eyer for his bravery and ultimate sacrifice," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in a statement. "His life and service will never be forgotten."

The North Carolina Department of Adult Correction said in a statement Monday that two of its officers were killed in the shooting. Sam Poloche and Alden Elliott, both 14-year veterans with the agency, were task force officers assigned to the U.S. Marshals Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force.

"They loved their work, and were passionate about their roles in protecting our communities," the statement said, adding: "These officers died as heroes and made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to our state."

Before Monday's incident, about 21 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers have been killed by gunfire, according to the non-profit organization Officer Down Memorial Page. In 2007, two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers were shot and killed while responding to a disturbance call in east Charlotte.

"I’ve been with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for 32 years ... it’s the most tragic (incident) that I’ve been involved in," Jennings said earlier Monday. "I don’t know historically — I can’t imagine that there’s one that’s any worse than what we’re seeing today."

The last U.S. Marshal shot and killed in the line of duty was in 2018, according to the U.S. Marshals Survivors Benefit Fund. Deputy U.S. Marshal Chase White was killed while executing a felony arrest warrant in November 2018 in Tucson, Arizona.

'Residents no longer need to shelter in place'

After the standoff, police were able to clear the home and confirmed that two people were inside. Police also gave residents the all-clear about three hours after telling them to "steer clear of the area."

"Residents no longer need to shelter in place," police said.

By late Monday afternoon, police were questioning the two other people in the home, according to the department. Both individuals were brought to the police station as persons of interest, and now investigators are trying to determine what "exactly occurred inside of the residence," Jennings said.

CMPD and other law enforcement agencies will remain at the shooting scene to conduct an investigation, the department said. As a result, some roads in the neighborhood will remain closed.

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

Amid the gunfire, roads were blocked and closed for fast ambulance transports, WBTV reported. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said four schools were on lockdown and were later dismissed after police issued the all-clear.

Tyler Wilson, a neighbor of the residence involved in the shooting, described the scene to WBTV as "gunfire galore." Wilson told the local television station that dozens of law enforcement officers used his home and backyard during the incident.

Developing into the evening:For additional updates, sign up for USA TODAY's Evening Briefing.

Officials, religious leaders offer condolences to CMPD officers

Lyles addressed the shooting in a post on X saying: "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," Lyles said in the post.

Several other local and state officials expressed their condolences, including Sen. Tom Tillis who called the incident an "attack in Charlotte."

North Carolina Bishop Rev. Connie Shelton offered comfort in the immediate aftermath of the shootings, which occurred about 20 minutes from the convention center where the United Methodist Church General Conference is gathering.

“We are mindful of the violence in the world, desperation, pain and how desperation then inflicts plain on others,” Shelton said. “Oh God, in the midst of the chaos right now, we ask that your spirit will bring clarity and order in the midst of pain.”

Cooper said in an X post that he's "in contact with law enforcement concerning the tragic shooting in the Charlotte area, and we have offered state resources to help." He later expressed his condolences to the "families and co-workers of officers in today’s brutal attack."

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department also shared condolences and extended support for law enforcement.

“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 in a statement. "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."

What is a Marshals task force?

The group of officers involved in the shooting Monday were part of a U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, said Brady McCarron, deputy chief of the Marshals’ public affairs office. 

A task force consists of U.S. Marshals agents plus officers, from local law enforcement agencies such as state police, county sheriff, local police department, and even local probation officers and investigators from the District Attorney’s Office, McCarron said.

Typically, a task force forms after a local law enforcement agency contacts the Marshals for help serving an outstanding warrant, McCarron added. 

"Say Charlotte-Mecklenburg," McCarron taking the example of the police department involved Monday,” knew where he was but they knew they wouldn’t be able to get him themselves. At that point, we’d adopt the warrant.”

The officers involved Monday were part of the Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force, McCarron said, one of the largest of the eight regional forces. 

It is also the newest, according to the Marshals website. It was formed in 2018; works with over 70 federal, state and local agencies; has 11 offices between North and South Carolina; and has apprehended over 8,900 fugitives.

The agency is the law enforcement arm of the Department of Justice and its origins go back to President George Washington who appointed the first 13 marshals in 1789. Five years later, Robert Forsyth was the first of over 200 Marshals arid Deputies killed in the line of duty, according to the agency.

Contributing: Charles Ventura; USA TODAY; Liam Adams, Nashville Tennessean

Featured Weekly Ad