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April 01, 2007
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2 N.C. officers fatally shot

By KYTJA WEIR
The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty late Saturday when they responded to a call at an east Charlotte apartment complex.


A police officer searches the area where two Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers were killed in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
The two shooters remain at large this morning, with police searching the area extensively with helicopters and patrols. Police did not have a detailed description about the two men but asked anyone with information to call 911.

Officer Sean Clark and Officer Jeffrey Shelton both died at Carolinas Medical Center early today. They were the first Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers fatally shot in the line of duty in more than a decade.

The two North Tryon division officers were called out to handle a reported disturbance at 10:26 p.m. at the Timber Ridge Apartments near Milton Road, police said.

They were shot around 11:15 p.m., police said, while struggling with a person in the apartment complex parking lot. Neither fired their weapon, police said.

Medic ambulances were called at 11:21 p.m. and they rushed the officers to the Carolinas Medical Center''s main facility.

Clark, 34, who had worked for the department for just over a year, died shortly after midnight. He was a 1991 graduate of West Mecklenburg High School. He had transferred from the South division in January as part of the department''s redistricting in January.

Officer Shelton, 35, who had been with the force for more six years, was pronounced dead just after 4 a.m.

Both officers were married and Clark was expected a child.

"It''s heartbreaking," Officer Bob Fey, a CMPD public information officer told WCNC. "Just hearing a call like that going out over the air ... just hearing the dispatcher say those words over the air, `We have two officers shot in the North Tryon Division,'' it just makes your heart skip a beat."

The fatal shooting came almost exactly a year after Officer Kayvan Hazrati was shot in the head while trying to serve a rape warrant against a man in northern Charlotte. He survived the shooting but has not yet returned to work. Another officer was also shot at during a standoff with the same suspect but his helmet deflected the bullet.

The last time an officer from the department was fatally shot in the line of duty was in 1993, when the city was a smaller place but had a record year of violence with 129 homicides.

Officers John Burnette, 25, and Andy Nobles, 26, were shot to death after responding to a call about a stolen van. Alden Harden was convicted of shooting Burnette and Nobles as the officers chased him through woods near Boulevard Homes in southwest Charlotte. He was sentenced to death.

Streets near the crime scene were renamed for the two popular community officers, and there also is a memorial bearing their names in Sharon Memorial Park in east Charlotte.

Police asked Sunday that people keep Clark and Shelton and their families in their prayers.

After Saturday''s shooting, Milton Road was blocked off for several hours overnight while police conducted their search for the suspects, but it has since been reopened. A SWAT team, K-9 units and a police helicopter have been called in to assist police in their efforts.

-- Staff writer April Bethea and news partner WCNC contributed.

Police ask anyone with information about the shooters to call 911. They did not have detailed descriptions of the men and caution that they are likely armed and dangerous.

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Suspect charged in N.C. police slayings
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