Teenager killed in officer-involved shooting fired at police, CMPD says

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A teenager is dead after an officer-involved shooting Thursday night in the University area of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said. Officials said the man fired at least one shot at officers.

The shooting happened on University City Boulevard and North Tryon Street, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police told Channel 9.

Officers initially responded to a shooting call on a Charlotte Area Transit System bus just after 10 p.m., according to CMPD Chief Kerr Putney.

Click "PLAY" to hear from Putney:

Putney said a man on the bus was shot in the ankle and officers immediately began searching for the gunman. Officers determined the victim on the bus knew the shooter and it was not a random act of violence.

A short time later, two officers confronted Rodney Rodriguez Smith, 18, who they said was armed, on North Tryon Street.

Putney told Channel 9 that the officers saw a gun, perceived an imminent lethal threat, and then shot Smith multiple times. The officers were identified as Officer Michael Bell and Officer Garret Tryon.

“The heroic actions of these officers very likely protected other members of our community from additional harm. This is yet another illustration of the commitment of our officers who serve selflessly to keep our community safe," Putney said in a statement Friday.

On Friday, Smith’s godmother said he had been in trouble before, but she did not see the shooting coming.

“That was surprising to me to know that he had a gun, supposedly,” Sabyle Young told Eyewitness News.

She said his family is still looking for answers, and still reeling from his death.

"I would've never thought it, and it's still kind of hard for me to absorb it, but maybe he's at peace now,” she said.

The officers are OK and the shooting victim on the bus is expected to recover, Putney said.

CATS released a statement: "CATS is cooperating fully with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and their investigation, and any video from the CATS bus will not be released until CMPD completes this investigation or authorizes its release."

Putney said the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave during an internal investigation, which is standard procedure.

Bell has been employed with CMPD since Sept. 14, 2009, and Tryon has been employed since Oct. 21, 2013. Both are currently assigned to patrol in the University City Division.

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