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New Details Released in Fatal East Charlotte Police Shootout

Investigators no longer sure if second shooter was involved

The men who lost their lives in yesterday's shooting include (from left) CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer, NC Department of Adult Corrections officers Samuel Poloche and William Elliot, and US Marshal Deputy Thomas Weeks.
The men who lost their lives in yesterday’s shooting include (from left) CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer, NC Department of Adult Corrections officers Samuel Poloche and William Elliot, and US Marshal Deputy Thomas Weeks.

CMPD held a media briefing on Tuesday morning to provide more insight into a deadly shooting on Monday afternoon that resulted in the death of three US Marshals and one CMPD officer.

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings released the names of the four injured CMPD officers during the briefing and was joined by U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis, who released the identity of the fourth officer killed.

Along with the suspect, the dead have been identified as CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer, NC Department of Adult Corrections officers Samuel Poloche and William Elliot, and US Marshal Deputy Thomas Weeks.

Read more: Three US Marshals and One CMPD Officer Killed in East Charlotte Shootout

Jennings walked back some of the early info he provided shortly after the standoff ended on Monday, namely his claims that a second shooter opened fire on police from inside the house after the first suspect was killed. Jennings confirmed that there were two females present in the house during the shooting, both of whom have been taken into custody and are said to be fully cooperating in the investigation. 

Jennings said investigators are not yet ruling out the possibility of a second shooter.

“I know I mentioned yesterday some pretty forward remarks about a possibility of a second shooter,” Jennings said. “We are not ready to say that at this point.”

Jennings said the original shooter, who was the target of the arrest warrant that Fugitive Task Force agents showed up to serve in the first place, maintained higher ground from the second floor of the home, though it’s believed that shots were fired from multiple locations inside the home. 

Jennings again confirmed Tuesday that the suspect, identified as 39-year-old Terry Clark Hughes Jr., was shot and killed outside of his home after firing at officers, though it now appears he may have opened fire from inside the house before coming outside after a pause in gunfire.  

Jennings said investigators are still looking into the possibility that additional rounds were fired after the initial shooter was down. Jennings said there is no indication that any of the officers were killed by friendly fire. Detectives are not looking for any additional suspects or persons of interest. 

CMPD will not release further information until they have finished reviewing body-worn camera footage and processed the scene of the shooting, where upwards of 100 rounds of ammo were collected.

Preliminary information indicates that 12 CMPD officers fired their service weapons. All 12 of those officers are on paid, administrative leave. As is standard procedure with any officer involved shooting, the CMPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau will conduct a separate but parallel investigation.

Three CMPD officers were shot while another suffered a broken foot. All officers are expected to make a full recovery.

Jennings said investigators recovered a semi-automatic AR-15 and 40-caliber handgun with additional magazines and ammo for both weapons at the scene of the shooting, where officers were serving the suspect with a warrant on a felon in possession of a firearm. 

The North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released a statement regarding the incident on Tuesday morning.

“Law enforcement officers showed up to do their job, to protect North Carolinians, and were met with senseless violence,” Moms Demand Action volunteer with the North Carolina chapter Scarlett Hollingsworth said in the release. 

“It doesn’t have to be this way. Thoughts and prayers mean nothing when unfettered access to firearms is only expanded,” Hollingsworth continued. “When extremist lawmakers continue to push their guns everywhere agenda, all our lives are on the line, including that of our state’s law enforcement. These shootings are preventable, but only if lawmakers have the courage and decency to act. Our lives are worth more than the gun lobby’s money, and our lives are worth saving.”

According to Everytown’s statement, North Carolina has the 14th-highest rate of gun violence in the US. The organization also pointed out that Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed a bill repealing the background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales.

Jennings said investigators are making progress on determining how the suspect procured the guns, how they were acquired and by whom.

During Tuesday’s press conference, a reporter asked Jennings why the suspect was on the streets after multiple dismissed charges in Mecklenburg County.

“I know this individual did serve a significant amount of time in jail and had been released,” Jennings said. “But I can give you hundreds of examples of people that I feel like should not be out preying upon our citizens.”

Attorney General Josh Stein, Gov. Roy Cooper and Mayor Vi Lyles were also present at Tuesday morning’s briefing.

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