Toxicology results show drugs, alcohol in system of man fatally shot in police 'ambush'

Bennett
Bennett

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A homicide suspect consumed drugs and alcohol prior to being killed in an officer-involved shooting at CMPD headquarters in uptown in January, autopsy and toxicology results show.

The autopsy was released Tuesday and showed 23-year-old Jonathan Bennett had a .04 BAC at the time of the shooting. Bennett had also recently used marijuana and cocaine, according to toxicology results.

Bennett was wanted in the death of 24-year-old Brittany White, his girlfriend and the mother of his 2-month-old daughter.

Police said they were briefing in the parking lot between the law enforcement center and CMPD parking deck when they were shot at multiple times. Several officers, including officer Jeffrey Zederbaum and officer Jared Decker, returned fire, police said. It happened Jan. 11.

Bennett was shot and taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police say. Autopsy results show Bennett had 14 gunshot wounds and 2 bullet grazes. His cause of death was ruled "multiple gunshot wounds."

"He ambushed us, he shot at us," CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney said in a press briefing.

Officer Casey Shue was shot in the leg and taken to the hospital with minor injuries. "Two CMPD officers and two probation officers fired their weapons during this incident," CMPD said.

Sources tell WBTV Bennett drove into an empty spot in the parking lot next to officers, got out of his vehicle, walked behind the vehicle and started shooting.

WBTV's Amanda Foster was in a news vehicle in the parking lot when the shots rang out. She was able to get video of the immediate aftermath.

Investigators believe Bennett shot and killed White and then took his 2-month-old daughter with him when he left the scene in west Charlotte.

The incident happened in the 4100 block of Carlyle Drive, which is off of Alleghany Street near Wilkinson Boulevard. Officers said White was found dead with a gunshot wound.

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A source close to the investigation said that Bennett changed the license plate on his vehicle before going to the law enforcement center.

Police said an Amber Alert was being issued for the 2-month-old, Journei Bennett, before she was found. Officials say a second child was found unharmed at the scene.

A neighbor near the scene said he heard about five gunshots, then saw police cars racing toward the scene.

There is no word on what may have led to the incident.

Records from the Mecklenburg County Jail show that Bennett was previously arrested for communicating threats and assault on a female.

The Internal Affairs Bureau will conduct a separate investigation to determine whether CMPD policies and procedures were properly followed, which is standard protocol for an officer-involved shooting.

The officer involved was placed on administrative leave.

There has been an outpouring of support for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers on social media since the deadly shooting.

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Officer Shue has been with CMPD since July 2014. Officer Zederbaum was hired in January 2009 and officer Decker has been with the department since July 2014.

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