Multiple Charlotte, North Carolina, police officers were shot at in three separate instances over the course of less than a week as of Wednesday morning, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).
"In the past six days, we've had three incidents where officers were shot at when responding to scenes. I think this is a very serious situation," CMPD Johnny Jennings said in a Wednesday video. "… We have a serious issue within society as a whole — not just here in Charlotte — but…across our nation that gunfire seems to be the most common theme when it comes to violence in our cities."
He continued: "I think we have to make sure that we understand the dangers our officers face every single day. We have to understand that officers are doing their role … every single day, and at the same time, we need to turn the narrative that we see so often about the vilification of law enforcement and police officers and realize what they really and truly do, and that's to try and keep our communities safe."
The most recent shooting occurred Wednesday around 2:30 a.m. in Charlotte's popular North Davidson (NoDa) neighborhood — a restaurant and entertainment hub east of uptown. An officer was shot in the leg with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities transported the officer to a nearby hospital, and he was released on Wednesday afternoon.
CMPD identified Toddrick McFadden, 32, as the suspect in Wednesday morning's shooting.
McFadden is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm and discarding a weapon into occupied territory following an issue at The Blind Pig, a neighborhood bar on E. 36th Street.
The bar allegedly asked the suspect to leave the bar "after an altercation ensued." Police responded to the scene, at which point McFadden allegedly shot the officer. There was no indication that officers fired back, according to CMPD's preliminary investigation.
McFadden was previously released from custody in 2020 after being charged with malicious conduct by a prisoner, assaulting an official government employee and communicating threats in March 2020. He was also taken into custody in February on charges of driving while impaired and released the same day.
Two additional officer-involved shootings occurred on June 24 and June 26.
On June 24, police and SWAT officers responded to reports of a person in crisis at 11:30 p.m. on the 5800 block of Hunting Ridge Lane. Upon arrival, the suspect fired multiple shots at officers, as well as an unoccupied police vehicle.
Authorities arrested Joshua Gaither, 33, on Wednesday and charged him with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm.
On June 26, officers were responding to reports of an armed robbery on Tuckaseegee Road when the suspect "discharged a firearm multiple times at officers, striking at least one patrol vehicle."
Authorities returned fire, striking the now-deceased suspect, and recovered his weapon from the scene.
Charlotte police are blaming stolen firearms in part on violent crime in North Carolina's largest and fast-growing city.
More than 200 auto larceny incidents occurred last week involving 75 vehicles, CMPD said in a tweet. Of those 200 larcenies, 28 guns were stolen, meaning that about 10% of vehicles broken into had guns.