Police video of ‘ambush,’ fatal shooting at CMPD headquarters released

Police video of ‘ambush,’ fatal shooting at CMPD headquarters released
Credit: Screenshot of body cam video
Credit: Screenshot of body cam video
Credit: Screenshot of body cam video
Bennett (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police)
Bennett (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Police video of a fatal officer-involved shooting outside Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters in January was released Tuesday.

The shooting happened on January 11 when officers outside CMPD headquarters in uptown Charlotte were ambushed by 23-year-old Jonathan Bennett, a man wanted in connection to the killing of his girlfriend, 24-year-old Brittany White, that happened earlier that day.

Police were holding a briefing that night in the parking lot between the law enforcement center and CMPD parking deck when Bennett shot at them multiple times.

Several officers, including officer Jeffrey Zederbaum and officer Jared Decker, returned fire.

Bennett was shot and taken to Carolinas Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Autopsy results show Bennett had 14 gunshot wounds and two bullet grazes. His cause of death was ruled "multiple gunshot wounds."

Three videos released Tuesday show officers fatally shoot Bennett. In one video, you can see the suspect approach the unsuspecting officers who were gathered outside CMPD headquarters.

That's when shots rang out and you see the officers duck for cover.

After shooting Bennett, officers could be heard telling him to "drop the gun." The officers could also be heard saying that a fellow officer had been hit.


WBTV's Nick Ochsner filed a petition for the release of the police video on Jan. 12, the day after the incident. In court on Feb. 1, Ochsner argued on his own behalf for the video's release.

"The release of this video is important for the public to see the heroic action of the CMPD officers and probation officers that night," Ochsner said.

However, Judge Nathaniel Poovey ruled the video would not be released, based largely on the objections of the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office.

Previous: Police video of ambush at CMPD headquarters will not be released

The assistant district attorney objected to the video being released before their office could conclude its investigation. Attorneys for CMPD and attorneys for the officers in the video did not object to its release.

On Monday, April 3, the District Attorney's Office concluded that investigation and confirmed that no charges would be filed against the officers involved.

In making the announcement earlier this month, District Attorney Spencer Merriweather said the officers were justified in the shooting. That ruling echoed statements CMPD Chief Kerr Putney made in January after the incident.

"He ambushed us, he shot at us," Putney said.

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.

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

On March 6, autopsy and toxicology reports were released that showed Bennett consumed drugs and alcohol prior to the fatal uptown incident. The autopsy revealed Bennett had a .04 BAC at the time of the shooting. Bennett had also recently used marijuana and cocaine, according to the toxicology results.

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