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February 26, 2011
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NC SWAT officer killed by flash-bang explosion

Officer Fred Thornton died after device exploded at his home

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Police in North Carolina say a SWAT officer was securing a stun grenade known as a "flash-bang" at his home when it exploded, killing him.

Charlotte Police Chief Rodney Monroe says 50-year-old Fred Thornton suffered massive internal injuries when the grenade detonated Friday.

Police say a preliminary investigation showed Thornton had been working to make sure his equipment was safe. He underwent surgery at a hospital and later died.

Monroe says the 28-year veteran had been on assignment serving a search warrant Friday afternoon. After that, Thornton drove his SWAT vehicle to his home, where the stun grenade went off.

Officials say the device is issued to all SWAT officers and is used to startle suspects during raids.


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Additional information from The Charlotte Observer

Hear from Officer Fred Thornton's colleagues in the video below:
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