A homicide suspect being sought by police ambushed officers outside Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters late Thursday, shooting one officer in the leg before being killed by return fire.
“He ambushed us,” Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters.
Just before 11 p.m., six to eight officers were in the CMPD parking lot, debriefing on an unrelated case, Putney said. The shooter arrived in a white car and fired multiple rounds at the officers.
The one officer he hit, who has not been identified, was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with injuries not considered life-threatening.
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The shooter, identified by police as 23-year-old Jonathan Bennett, was shot in return fire. Critically injured, he was taken to the hospital, where he died, Putney said.
Bennett was a suspect in the fatal shooting of Brittany White, also 23, earlier Thursday in west Charlotte. Bennett and White were the parents of an infant daughter, and Bennett took the child with him after that shooting, police said. The daughter was later found safe.
Putney said it was doubtful that there would be any body camera footage from the shooting outside CMPD headquarters because it was an ambush.
“Times like this make you appreciate people who voluntarily put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” Putney said, emphasizing that officers have a “dangerous job.”
WSOC-TV reporter DaShawn Brown reported hearing shots and seeing a body in the middle of CMPD’s parking lot shortly before 11 p.m. She and a station photographer had been outside police headquarters for a live report, she said.
“The only thing I could think about was to take cover,” Brown reported on the station’s 11 p.m. newscast. “I saw officers scrambling. I looked and saw flashes from a gun. I’m not sure, but it seemed like a dozen shots.”
Putney said the injured officer was in good spirits.
When police shoot someone, two investigations begin as part of standard procedure. The shooting will be investigated like any other shooting in Charlotte, and CMPD's Internal Affairs Bureau will also hold an internal investigation to see if officers followed department policy and procedures.