2 sought in shooting with police

Authorities will continue the search today in South Carolina for two men they say were involved in shooting at a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer earlier in the day.

Using tracking dogs, investigators followed a trail of blood into the woods in Chester County, S.C., after they found the suspects' wrecked car Monday morning. The search continued overnight, but the men remain at-large this morning.

Authorities also searched for possible links between the suspects and a double-homicide in Kannapolis Saturday night.

Just before midnight Sunday, officer Andy Riddle attempted to pull over a Honda he saw driving erratically in southwest Charlotte. The car didn't stop, but officers caught up with it a short time later when the driver pulled into a parking lot on Deanna Road, police said.

Riddle was walking toward the car when police say a man reached out of the driver's side window and fired several shots. Riddle, who was not injured, returned fire and the Honda took off.

At least one of Riddle's bullets pierced the car, police said, possibly injuring the people inside.

Shortly before 2 a.m. Monday, S.C. authorities found the same Honda on Interstate 77 near Exit 69 in Chester County.

The car had a shattered back window and two bullet holes, and blood was found in the front seats, Chester County Sheriff Robby Benson told the Observer.

A witness told police a Hispanic man got out of the Honda with a handgun, got some ammunition from the trunk and disappeared, Benson said.

Law enforcement officers from Charlotte and Chester and York counties in South Carolina searched the nearby woods throughout the day.

Authorities late Monday night used thermal imaging equipment from a helicopter to search for bodies in the 2-mile area of the search, Benson said.

Meanwhile, Kannapolis police continued to investigate the killings of a man and woman who were found shot to death in a home at 702 W. 8th St. late Saturday night.

Police have not released the victims' names. But investigators said the suspect – 35-year-old Joaquin Alvarez Rios – had one or more children with the woman and may have worked with the man.

Police issued warrants for Rios early Sunday and sent a message and photo to area law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout.

CMPD called Kannapolis police after the Monday morning shooting to say their suspect could be the same person who fired at Riddle, said Kannapolis Police Sgt. Chris Nesbitt.

Shell casings collected at the scene of the Kannapolis homicides were the same caliber as those found on the scene of the Charlotte shooting, although they appeared to be made by different companies, Nesbitt said. The casings were being tested at a CMPD lab to see if they had been fired from the same weapon. Police had not made a definitive connection between the incidents as of Monday night.

Officer Riddle, who has worked with CMPD since 2002, is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Steve Lyttle and Gail Smith-Arrants contributed