A Mooresville Police Department K9 officer was shot and killed during what investigators are calling a routine traffic stop Saturday.
Officer Jordan Harris Sheldon, 32, died after being taken to a hospital, according to a news release. He had been with the department six years, officials said.
The suspect alleged to have shot the officer was found dead later Saturday, officials said.
“The suspect in the shooting fled the scene and was later located in a nearby apartment,” officials said. “Once police entered the residence, the suspect was confirmed dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Mooresville Police Chief Damon Williams identified the suspect during a press conference Sunday as 28-year-old Michael Aldana of Mooresville.
“We’re angry. We’re hurt. We’re sad,” Williams said. “You can’t prepare for what we’re experiencing emotionally.”
Williams asked the community to support the officers grieving along with Sheldon’s friends and family. Williams said Sheldon was not married but was in a relationship.
“They’re going to need to know that you as a community care about how they’re feeling and what they’re feeling,” Williams said Sunday. “We’re going to show everybody we are Mooresville.”
Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins, fighting tears, said Sunday the community is grieving.
“Utterly devastated,” Atkins said when asked how he and residents are feeling. “We’re resilient; we’re a strong community. We’ve always supported our law enforcement.”
At 10 a.m. Sunday, officers and first responders joined in a procession for Sheldon at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Investigators say the incident happened about 10 p.m. Saturday when Sheldon pulled over a vehicle on West Plaza Drive. Mooresville is an Iredell County town of more than 37,000 people, located about 28 miles north of Charlotte.
Local and state law-enforcement agencies are assisting in the investigation, which Williams said is in the early stages.
Williams said Sheldon’s dog, identified by the department as a Belgian Malinois named Ramon, was with him when Sheldon was shot.
Williams said all Mooresville officers wear a body camera. Footage in the incident is being reviewed as part of the investigation, he said.
A Mooresville Police Department Facebook post about Sheldon’s death drew more than 10,000 responses Sunday morning, including thousands of comments from people around the country offering condolences to the department.
“Completely heartbreaking,” posted Amanda Barnes on Facebook. “I thank this man and his family for his service. RIP Officer. My condolences to the family, friends, the community he served and the Mooresville Police Department, as well as his K9 partner.”
“It’s crazy to think this would happen in Mooresville,” posted Jake Liddle on Facebook. “I actually knew this officer. He was a very good guy, gone too soon.”
The Mooresville Police Department at 3 p.m. May 15 will honor fallen officers during a memorial service for National Police Week. The service will be at the police department, 750 West Iredell Ave.
“(Sheldon) served this community with dignity,” Williams said.
A vigil was scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Sunday at Mooresville Commons, reported WBTV, the Charlotte Observer’s news partner.