Biden to travel to North Carolina to meet with families of officers killed in deadly shooting

President Joe Biden is expected to travel to North Carolina on Thursday to meet with the family members of four officers killed earlier this week in the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement since 2016

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — President Joe Biden is expected to travel to North Carolina on Thursday to meet with the family members of four officers killed earlier this week in the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement since 2016.

The president is scheduled to visit Wilmington across the state that day and is planning to add a stop in Charlotte to meet with local officials and the families of officers shot Monday while serving a warrant, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The four officers were killed when a task force made up of officers from different agencies arrived in the residential neighborhood in the city of 900,000 to try to capture 39-year-old Terry Clark Hughes Jr. on warrants for possession of a firearm by an ex-felon and fleeing to elude in Lincoln County, North Carolina. Hughes was also killed.

Four other officers were wounded in the shootout, and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a 40-caliber handgun and ammunition were found at the scene. Those killed were identified as Sam Poloche and William Elliott of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Joshua Eyer; and Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas Weeks.

After the attack, Biden expressed his condolences and support for the community, calling the slain officers “heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, rushing into harm’s way to protect us."

“We must do more to protect our law enforcement officers. That means funding them – so they have the resources they need to do their jobs and keep us safe. And it means taking additional action to combat the scourge of gun violence. Now," Biden said in a statement, calling on leaders in Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons, among other gun control measures.

Outside the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department's North Tryon Division on Wednesday, Eyer's patrol car was draped with an American flag and covered with flower bouquets from community members who stopped to pay their respects.

The department called the vehicle a “solemn tribute” and “visible reminder of Officer Eyer’s sacrifice and service,” in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Eyer's memorial service is scheduled for Friday at a Charlotte Baptist church.

Also on Wednesday, a local police chief said that an officer from his force who was shot Monday underwent surgery and is expected to make a full recovery. David W. Onley, the police chief of Statesville in the Charlotte metropolitan area, expressed condolences Wednesday and “unwavering solidarity with our law enforcement brethren during this difficult time,” according to a statement released by his office.

One of the four officers injured in the attack was Cpl. Casey Hoover of the Statesville Police Department, who served on the task force. He was shot in his upper torso — an area unprotected by his bulletproof vest.

Hoover was taken by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to a Charlotte hospital, where he underwent surgery. Onley said the officer, who has worked for the Statesville police for eight years, is now stable and is expected to make a full recovery and “exemplifies the bravery and resilience of our law enforcement community.”

Law enforcement officers were still investigating Wednesday, attempting to determine a precise timeline of events and whether Hughes acted alone or with a second shooter.

Hughes’ criminal record in North Carolina goes back more than a decade. It includes prison time and convictions for breaking and entering, reckless driving, eluding arrest and illegally possessing a gun as a former felon, according to state records.

The attack was the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement in one incident since five officers were killed by a sniper during a protest in Dallas in 2016.

___ Miller reported from Washington.

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