CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A man is dead after officers shot him at a west Charlotte convenience store early Tuesday morning, police officials said.
Dozens of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers, including SWAT team members, descended on the 7-Eleven on Little Rock Road just after 3 a.m.
The shooting is the fourth since Christmas Eve where CMPD officers have shot and killed armed suspects, and this case appears to be a classic case of “suicide by cop.”
Officers told Channel 9 that they received a call for a suicidal man with a gun that entered the 7-Eleven. It was unclear if he tried to rob the store or if there was anyone else inside but he remained at the store for nearly 90 minutes.
Police repeatedly tried to speak with the man, who officers identified as 41-year-old Sylasone Ackhavong, and just before 4:30 a.m. Channel 9 crews heard two loud bangs. A few minutes later, Ackhavong was seen being loaded into the back of an ambulance.
MEDIC said Ackhavong was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but just before 6 a.m. police told Channel 9 he died on the way to the hospital.
Officials said Ackhavong was suicidal and was on top of a vehicle outside the store wearing what appeared to be a bullet-proof vest. During negotiations he raised his gun and was shot by two officers.
The two members of the SWAT team that were involved in the shooting are Officer Olin Lester and Officer Derek Rud. Lester has been with the department since Sept., 2000 while Rud has been with CMPD since July, 2005.
Both have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
Charlotte attorney Scott Maclatchie is a former police officer who has represented officers in lawsuits involving police shootings. He said courts have ruled that in the split second they have to make a decision, officers don’t have time to decide what the suspect is thinking.
“Looking at a use of deadly force, the police officer is not required to know what's in the heart and mind of his assailant,” Maclatchie said.
At a time when police shootings around the country have come under the microscope the string of officer shootings in around Charlotte have not drawn any criticism.
“Very often these type of things, when they happen here in Charlotte, they're the exception, not the norm,” said Willie Ratchford, director of Charlotte’s Community Relations Committee.
Ratchford said people will speak up if they perceive an injustice, but that has not been the case in the recent shootings.
“There has not been any indication of an officer doing anything wrong. The officers have simply done their job,” Ratchford said.
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Cox Media Group