9 Investigates: East Charlotte Shooting Timeline

CHARLOTTE — It was one of the darkest days for officers in Charlotte: Four officers killed, four others wounded, all while trying to serve a warrant in east Charlotte.

The shooting lasted over an hour. Officers reported being shot at for more than 30 minutes after the suspect was down. The question remains: Who was firing after the suspect was on the ground? Channel 9 pieced together video from the air and on the ground, along with audio from law enforcement radios, to uncover a more detailed picture of what officers were up against that day.

We’re put together key moments of the shootout by pairing video captured by Chopper 9 Skyzoom and video from witnesses on the ground. Understanding what happened is important for accountability and for safety — for our community and for the officers who put their lives on the line every day.

1:33 p.m.: Shooting begins

The first call comes over the radio. “Hey, I got shots fired and an officer down.”

Channel 9 immediately observes marked and unmarked police cars racing at high speeds toward east Charlotte’s Shannon Park neighborhood.

Police say a convicted felon opened fire on the U.S. Marshals team that was trying to arrest him.

A neighbor’s Facebook Live video shows police in an intense battle with the suspect.

The video shows Marshals shooting from behind a car. Just above the car’s windshield, you can see what appears to be an officer standing in the backyard of the target house.

This is on what officers called the “Delta” side of the house. If you’re looking at the front door, it’s to the right.

Officers label each side of a building Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta - or A, B, C, and D - to clearly communicate their positions in a chaotic scene.

The gunman, identified by police as Terry Clark Hughes Jr., was firing down at the Marshals team from above, through an upstairs window. As the shootout continues, the officers’ radio calls for help tell the story of what’s happening.

1:46 - 1:49 p.m.: Shooting Continues, Target Down

By now, officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department began responding en masse, along with state troopers and eventually, a SWAT team.

A neighbor began broadcasting live on Facebook.

About 20 minutes after the shooting started is a key moment for the officers.

At 1:49 p.m., officers say the suspect is down and his gun was lying beside him in the yard in the front of the house.

But seconds later, one officer reports additional shooting after the target was down.

1:50 - 1:55 p.m.: Target Down, More Shots

Even after the police announced on radio that they’d taken down the shooter, with his gun on the ground next to him, multiple officers were on the radio saying someone was still firing at them.

“He’s firing at us. We’re just trying to not have any more injuries.”

2:01 p.m.: Coordinating Rescue Efforts

The focus quickly turns to confirming all officers are accounted for, and that the ones who were hurt had gotten help.

“Do we need any more officers [evacuated]?”

“Marshals’ channel saying negative, everybody’s out with them.”

“Evacuated a total of five that I’m aware of. All were in the backyard, several Marshals.”

About a minute later, at 2:03 p.m., a large armored truck leaves the Delta side of the house with a wounded officer.

2:03 p.m.: Conflicting Reports

On the radio, there seem to be mixed messages about gunfire, just seconds apart.

2:02:59 “The last engagement’s been about 4 to 5 minutes now. Last point of engagement at Bravo, Charlie corner”

2:03:19 “Hey, guy in the front yard is down, there is still somebody inside shooting.”

We reviewed hours of Chopper 9 Skyzoom video and mapped out four spots on opposite sides of the house where officers were located after the suspect was down.

2:20 p.m.: ‘You’re both going to be shooting each other’

About 45 minutes after the shooting started, some officers are ordered to move from their positions.

2:20 p.m. “Hey, if you’re on the Bravo or Delta side of the target house, you need to back up and get behind cover.

You’re both going to be shooting each other if something happens.”

Shortly after that order, we see six officers run for cover on the Bravo side of the house.

For the next 20 minutes, officers take cover behind cars, homes, and whatever they could find.

2:45 p.m.: ‘We were still being shot at’

Nearly an hour after the suspect was taken down, multiple officers seem certain about a second shooter.

A dispatcher asks for clarification on the shots that were fired after Hughes was reported to be down.

2:44:56 “Was there anybody else inside the house or shots fired once that subject was down?”

Officer: “100% brother, 100%”

Second officer: “We were at the back at that time, that is correct. We were still being shot at.”

Police confirmed two additional people -- a woman and a 17-year-old female -- were inside the home during the shooting, and officers questioned them after the shootout. Police have not announced any charges for either of them.

The next day, Jennings said his comments on a second shooter might have been premature and it will take time for police to know with certainty what happened.

“We’re not ruling out the possibility that someone else was shooting as well, to make sure all that timeline matches up. Then we’ll determine if we need to look for any other individual. We are not ready to say that at this point,” Jennings said.

Police still have not named any additional suspects. Jennings has stated he is confident there was no evidence of friendly fire but reiterated that the investigation is ongoing.

We will continue to follow up on this story.

Four officers were killed: CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer, Deputy U.S. Marshal Tommy Weeks, Investigator Alden Elliott, and Investigator Sam Poloche.

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