Local departments release statements after four officers killed in Charlotte

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

ROWAN COUNTY — Following the killings of four law enforcement officers in a Charlotte shoot-out on Monday, Rowan County police departments and the sheriff’s office issued statements of support.

“We are deeply saddened by the news of the officers in Charlotte who lost their lives this evening along with the officers who were injured,” the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said in a public statement. “They were, and are, part of that thin blue line separating good from evil. Our prayers are with families who are left to mourn their loss and also with those officers who are recovering from their injuries. Please pray for our men and women who are part of that thin blue line,” said the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office in a Facebook post on Monday.”

Echoing that sentiment, the Salisbury Police Department issued a statement saying, “The Salisbury Police Department sends its condolences and prayers to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, United State Marshal’s Task Force, the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections and all other impacted police departments following the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Charlotte.”

Kannapolis Police Department said that it “(stands) ready to support any needs they may have in the days to come.”

Granite Quarry Mayor Brittany Barnhardt joined the refrain with her own post: “Praying for CMPD and U.S. Marshall’s Special Task Force. The news out of Charlotte is heartbreaking. I send my thoughts and prayers to all those impacted by this senseless act of violence.”

A familiar face

For one Landis officer that recently joined the department, the loss hit close to home. Sgt. Michael Watts served with the Charlotte Metro Police Department for seven years before coming to Landis and at times crossed paths with Joshua Eyer.

“I was familiar with him, but I did not work in the same division as he did,” Watts said on Tuesday.

Watts said that when news came across the airwaves of a shooting that it was gut-wrenching, despite not knowing who the victims were at that time.

“We were just hearing the different reports about an officer down and then multiple officers down,” Watts said.

As the picture became more clear, Watts realized that he knew Eyer. Still his heart hurt for all the fallen.

“Working in law enforcement, it’s a brotherhood and sisterhood,” Watts said. “Regardless of knowing the officers personally and being good friends with them and working every day or just being in the situation with them, it’s just heartbreaking. I know the families are devastated.”

The reality of the dangers that he and other law enforcement officers face took on added meaning Monday, but Watts acknowledged that it’s not his first brush with violence.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first officer death since I have bene in law enforcement that I have seen, but obviously, every single time, that I hear an officer injured or a line of duty death it hits hard at home,” Watts said.  

Landis Chief Matthew Geelen added, that the departments “hearts are burdened by the loss of these courageous law enforcement professionals. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been injured and to the families, friends and colleagues of everyone affected. Rest in peace, heroes. We will carry on in your honor.”