CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The scanners crackled with tension as the first sketchy details of a shootout hit the airwaves just before 11 p.m. Thursday.
Channel 9 has a copy of the dispatch audio from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police after a murder suspect opened fire on officers in the parking lot of police headquarters.
The first dispatch call came over the radio around 10:45 p.m., with an urgent request for officers to start heading to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department headquarters.
“We need units to the LEC (law enforcement center) now,” a dispatcher said in the recording. “Any available officers that can start to the LEC?”
Police said Jonathan Bennett ambushed officers in their own parking lot, opening fire on several of them. Officers fired back, killing Bennett.
A Channel 9 photographer who was in his car just feet from the suspect was able to record video seconds after the shots rang out.
“It's going to be shots fired,” one officer said over the radio. “We got glass broken; came from the north side of the rotunda.”
More tense moments followed as officers learned one of their own was shot.
“We have an officer down, officer down at the LEC -- shots fired,” another officer can be heard saying on the radio.
Exclusive Channel 9 video showed a flood of police cars rushing to CMPD headquarters, where officers shot Bennett, ending the threat.
Over the radio, another officer is heard urging responding officers to slow down.
“Slow your traffic, slow your traffic, nobody get hurt,” the officer said. “Slow the traffic. Suspect is in custody. Slow the traffic.”
Officers at the scene then began loading the injured officer, identified as Casey Shue, who was shot in the leg, into a patrol car. At the same time, an officer told dispatchers they were attending to Bennett’s injuries while waiting for MEDIC.
“We're applying a tourniquet,” the officer said. “If you'll mark it, mark the time for a tourniquet to the subject (Bennett).
"We got officer Shue in the back of a vehicle. We are headed to the hospital."
As the ambulance left, police began their investigation and sealed off the parking lot, but their guard was still up to make sure no other officers were in danger.
“I need additional units around the LEC, establish a perimeter,” one officer said to dispatch. “We've got one confirmed shooter; we need to confirm we got no other shooters.”
The SWAT team searched the building, parking lots and adjacent parking garage, but it was determined Bennett was alone.
The injured officer was taken to the hospital where she is recovering, police said.
Randy Hagler, who worked at CMPD as a detective and sergeant for 30 years, said officers learn quickly to never let their guard down.
“They're going to move on. They're not going to let this knock them back,” said Hagler, who is now the president of the state fraternal order of police. “It was bad last night. That was a tragic event all the way around.”
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