Community shows support as wounded officer released from hospital

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Casey Shue, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who was shot in the leg during an ambush outside police headquarters, is out of the hospital.

Since Thursday, when alleged killer Jonathan Bennett open fired and struck Shue, there has been an outpouring of community support. Bennett, who was wanted in the homicide of his girlfriend, 24-year-old Brittany White, was killed by officers who returned fire.

Several officers went to the hospital Saturday morning as Shue was released.

People in the community where she serves were grateful to hear she went home, where she will continue her recovery.

In just three years with the department, Shue has left an impression

She was named officer of the month in August and has been credited with more than 20 arrests, six of them for felonies.

“I may not have met her, but we know who does what in our neighborhood,” said Sonya Grier-Smith, who lives in the Hidden Valley neighborhood where Shue serves.

In a video honoring her, Shue said she had the best job in the world.

Since Thursday's shooting, CMPD has taken measures to make its headquarters safer, beginning with limiting access to the main facility.

Moving forward, doors to the main lobby will be locked at all times

On social media, support continued for Shue, who is a former athlete.

A local softball league she played for asked everyone to keep Shue in their thoughts and prayers

“It's a relief when you have someone willing to put their life on the line,” Grier-Smith said.

[RELATED: 2-month-old girl found safe after child's mother shot to death]

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney told Channel 9 on Thursday that Bennett, 23, ambushed and shot at officers who were standing outside headquarters around 10:45 p.m., and officers returned fire.

Bennett was hit and fell to the ground. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Shue was taken to the hospital after being shot in the leg.

Shue was hired by CMPD in July  2014, and was assigned to the North Tryon Division Crime Reduction Unit.

Officials said two CMPD officers and two probation officers fired at Bennett. The CMPD officers were identified as Jeffrey Zederbaum, who has been with the department since January 2009, and Jared Decker, who was hired in July 2014.

The probation officers have not been identified.

['Officer down': Dispatch audio captures chaotic moments of shootout at CMPD]

“It’s obvious he knew we were looking for him," Putney said. "Times like this make you appreciate people who voluntarily put their lives on the line to keep us safe.”

Timeline of events:

  • 1:45 p.m. – Police received 911 call for shooting on Carlyle Drive. Officers found Brittany White dead inside the home.
  • 1:50 p.m. – Investigators said White's boyfriend, Jonathan Bennett, was the suspect in her killing. Police said he took the couple's 2-month-old daughter.
  • 5:30 p.m. – As police were working on an Amber Alert for the missing girl, officers learned that she had been found safe and unharmed.
  • 10:45 p.m. – Bennett pulls into CMPD headquarters parking lot in uptown, gets out of his vehicle and opens fire on officers. One officer was shot in the leg but will recover. Police return fire, shooting and killing Bennett.

Putney said the group of six or eight officers was being briefed on an unrelated investigation in the parking lot when Bennett pulled up and started shooting.

[SLIDESHOW: Shots fired outside CMPD Headquarters]

Police had been looking all day for Bennett, who police said shot and killed his girlfriend, Brittany White, the mother of his 2-month-old daughter.

They said Bennett vanished with the child, who was later found safe and unharmed.

Putney said he doesn't know why Bennett came to attack officers.

"He ambushed us, he shot at us, that's about all we're aware of at this time," the chief said. "We don't know about any conversation that preceded it."

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles took to social media Friday morning, condemning the violence and thanking the brave officers.

Channel 9 crews were outside CMPD headquarters in uptown when the chaotic scene unfolded.

Reporter DaShawn Brown said she was getting ready for her live shot around 10:45 p.m. from CMPD headquarters when she heard about 12 shots fired.

WSOC-TV cameraman Corey Gensler tweeted that he was outside CMPD headquarters next to what appeared to be a Violent Criminal Apprehension Team officer and two female officers when a man walked up and a shootout ensued.

Gensler continued to tweet that after about a dozen shots, the suspect was down and an officer was in the bushes and could be heard screaming.

Officer Shue was placed in the back of a patrol car and tended to before being taken to the hospital.

Jonathan Bennett

(Jonathan Bennett)

CMPD headquarters was surrounded by officers and East Trade Street was blocked off.

Early Friday morning, Channel 9 watched as detectives continued to gather evidence and eventually towed the suspect's white SUV from the parking lot.

There are two parallel investigations taking place, Putney said, one into the shooting and the other an internal investigation into the officers' response, both of which are standard procedure.

Channel 9 crews routinely stake out CMPD headquarters for video of suspects being brought into custody, which is why they were there when Bennett pulled up and began shooting.

Channel 9 employees, a reporter and two photographers, had to take cover but are safe and were not injured.

2-month-old girl found safe after child's mother shot to death

With detectives on her doorstep and a team of officers lined up around her home, a grandmother told Channel 9 her grandson was wanted for murder.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said a 2-month-old baby was found safe and unharmed after police officers investigating a homicide discovered the child was missing.

Officers responded to a call of shots fired Thursday afternoon on Carlyle Drive.

When they arrived, police found 24-year-old Brittany White shot and killed inside the home, and here baby missing.

The investigation set off a massive search for baby Journei Bennett. Police were in the process of putting out an Amber Alert when the child was dropped off at a north Charlotte home.

“His grandmother, you know, she's nice as can be,” neighbor Jimmy Rape said. “I just hate to see her have to go through this again.”

A source said Journei will be staying with family.

A second child was found in the home and was unharmed.

Police began searching for the suspect, 23-year-old Jonathan Bennett, who they considered armed and dangerous. They said he was last seen driving an older model white Ford Expedition with New York license plates HUP-3071.

Police said Bennett could be driving this white Ford Expedition

Bennett was shot and killed in a shootout with police outside CMPD headquarters in uptown late Thursday night.

Neighbors Channel 9 spoke with were shocked.

"I knew him for a couple years -- four, five years,” said Rahshawn Johnson. “I didn't see this coming though."

Suspect's criminal history

Channel 9 dug into Bennett's criminal past and discovered he is no stranger to police.

State records show Bennett is a convicted felon. He served time in prison in 2013 for breaking and entering and larceny.

Records show Bennett was arrested twice in 2017. In March, he was arrested for assault on a female and misdemeanor larceny. Then, two and a half weeks later, he was arrested again for communicating threats.

Channel 9 discovered that Bennett was arrested for similar charges in 2016.

Eyewitness News also found court records showing that a restraining order had been filed against Bennett in 2016 and that he filed one against a woman in April.

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