ALBEMARLE — With deadly shootings of police officers in two of Stanly County’s neighboring communities, Concord and Mount Holly, in less than a week, local law enforcement and elected officials voiced their support.
“The Albemarle Police Department would like to send out sincere condolences to the Concord Police Department,” the APD said in a social media post. “One of their finest gave the ultimate sacrifice last night. This heartbreaking loss has not only affected the family but the Law Enforcement families as well. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragedy. We stand by our brothers and sisters in blue today, tomorrow, and always.”
Similarly, the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office posted, “Sheriff Jeff Crisco and all the employees at the Sheriff’s Office would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the families of the Concord Police Officers and all the agencies impacted by the senseless violence that occurred in Concord. Rest easy brother; we will take it from here.”
The shooting in Concord occurred late on Dec. 16 when officers approached a man in a Sonic restaurant parking lot after receiving a report he tried to take a car from a woman there. When the officers approached, the man pulled out a gun and began firing at officers. Two officers were struck, with one, Jason Shuping, 25, ultimately succumbing to his injuries. The suspect was also shot in the exchange and died.
Only five days earlier in Mount Holly, just west of Charlotte in Gaston County, a 3:30 a.m. shootout on Dec. 11 left an officer, Tyler Avery Herndon, 25, dead. The officers had responded to a breaking-and-entering call from Mount Holly Car Wash and Arcade and were met with armed suspects.
Both deadly shootings of local law enforcement led to outrage toward the perpetrators and sympathy toward the fallen officers, not only from the greater Charlotte region but from statewide elected leaders.
“Three days ago, I came to the Senate floor and spoke in honor of the life of Tyler Herndon, a Mount Holly, North Carolina, police officer who lost his life just days before his 26th birthday last week,” U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said Dec. 18 on the Senate floor. “He was laid to rest this week. Now five days after his murder and three days after my remarks, I’m devastated to report another officer in North Carolina has lost his life in the line of duty.”
Tillis said he would push for “the Protect and Serve Act,” a bill he sponsored earlier in the year, when the next Congress begins in 2021.
“This Act increases penalties for people who murder or assault police officers, but in light of another police officer’s death, the second one in a week in North Carolina and in the suburbs just around the corner from where I live, I think we have to elevate the discussion now and send a very clear message to those that would harm police officers that if you do, there will be dire consequences to pay for it,” Tillis said in his comments.
Stanly County’s U.S. House member, Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08), also released a statement:
“Renee and I are devastated to learn of the officer-involved shooting last night in Concord. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the officer we lost, for a full and speedy recovery for the other officer injured, and with all of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep our community safe.”