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CMPD discusses de-escalation tactics during four violent incidents in June

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - On Tuesday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department held a press conference “to commend its officers for the bravery and overwhelming dedication they put into their daily service to the Charlotte community.”

According to the department spokesperson, since the beginning of June, four-armed and barricaded suspects were among many others who experienced de-escalation services from the CMPD’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team.

Shortly before 1:45 p.m. on June 2, officers responded to reports of a domestic disturbance call for service near the 13500 block of Little Abbey Lane in the Steele Creek Division. When they arrived, the officers knocked on the door and identified themselves as police; however, they were met with gunfire.

The suspect fired several rounds in the direction of the officers, nearly striking them. The officers were able to get to a position of cover and began to evacuate the surrounding apartments while the suspect continued shooting. Members of the CMPD’s SWAT Team responded to assist, and negotiators began speaking with the suspect, who ultimately surrendered himself.

“Officers have to make split second decisions on whether they are going to stand ground and return fire or the environment and conditions are such that they can find cover and find another resolution to this,” Major Dave Johnson said.

Major Johnson said SWAT team members are hand-selected for the role and go through up to six months of training before they work a scene.

“They train on a monthly basis,” Major Johnson said. “We’re fortunate our department and city has funded us to a level to allow us to do that training and do it successfully.”

CMPD also relies on its Community Policing Crisis Response Team, made up of 8 sworn officers and 6 mental health clinicians.

“We’re really blazing trails when it comes to partnering with mental health partners, having them in the police car with us ready to respond at a moment’s notice,” he said.

Shortly after 7:10 p.m. on June 9, 2021, officers responded to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon call for service near the 3300 block of Magnolia Hill Drive in the Eastway Division. Information given to officers indicated the suspect had pointed a firearm at the victim and shot at her.

When officers arrived, they learned the suspect had barricaded herself inside an apartment, so officers from across the city responded to secure the building while the CMPD’s SWAT Team mobilized and began a lengthy negotiation that ended with a peaceful resolution and the suspect in custody.

Shortly after 11:15 p.m. on June 10, 2021, officers responded to reports of a domestic disturbance near the 9400 block of Split Rail Lane in the Hickory Grove Division. They arrived and spoke with two victims who reported the suspect had assaulted them and fired multiple shots inside of a residence.

Officers established a secure perimeter around the residence while a search warrant was issued, and the SWAT Team mobilized to assist. Following negotiations, the suspect surrendered himself peacefully, and officers seized four firearms.

Shortly before 4 a.m. on June 12, 2021, officers responded to multiple reports of a shooting near the 2700 block of Mill Valley Court in the Independence Division. When they arrived, officers went to the open door of the residence and identified themselves as police. A suspect then came down the stairs, and the officers asked the suspect to show his hands.

The suspect showed officers a firearm, forcing officers to take a position of cover while the suspect fired his weapon numerous times inside the house. Officers established a secure perimeter around the residence and worked to evacuate nearby residences while SWAT was mobilized.

Negotiators spent several hours attempting to make contact with the suspect inside, but the suspect refused to respond. Shortly before 11 a.m., SWAT Tactical Officers utilized an array of de-escalation tactics and tools to disorient the suspect and safely take him into custody.

Major Robinson said they were able to get him out safely by deploying irritants like flash bangs to disorient him.

It’s another example of tools they can use to ensure the suspect, officers and neighbors remain unharmed.

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