Four law officers serving a warrant for a felon wanted for possessing a firearm were killed and four other officers were wounded in a shootout Monday at a North Carolina home, police said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said some of the officers who rushed to the Charlotte neighborhood to rescue the first wave of downed officers were wounded as a second shooter began firing on them after they killed the wanted man.
After a three-hour standoff, the suburban Charlotte home was torn open. Armoured vehicles smashed into it, ripping off windows and entire doorways that were left broken. Several armoured vehicles were parked across yards, some with tree branches dangling off them.
The U.S. Marshals Task Force was fired on by the wanted suspect as they approached the house and the man was killed in the front yard. His name was not released, but the police chief said he was wanted as a felon illegally possessing a weapon.
A second person then fired on officers from inside the home, where a high-powered rifle was found, Jennings added.
A woman and a 17-year-old male were found in the home after the standoff. The two are being questioned.
The Marshal’s Service confirmed one of its agents was killed. Two officers from the state Department of Adult Correction were also killed, said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Joshua Eyer died a few hours later at the hospital. Eyer was named the officer of the month for the force in April a few weeks ago.
One other member of the task force, which is made up of federal agents and other officers from across the region, was injured.
Three other Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers who responded to the scene were shot while trying to rescue the wounded officers.
Neighbors said the gunfire lasted for several minutes.
Many roads in the area, including Interstate 77, were closed so ambulances could get to hospitals faster.
Police urged people to stay away from the neighbourhood and asked residents to remain inside their homes until the all-clear was given.
The last marshal shot and killed in the line of duty was in November 2018. Chase White was shot in Tucson, Arizona, by a man wanted for stalking local law enforcement officers, the agency said.
Fugitive task forces are collaborations between agencies to find and arrest suspects in crimes.

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