Suspected killer accused of ambushing officers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A man suspected of killing his baby’s mother ambushed North Carolina police officers as they gathered for a briefing near headquarters, wounding one of them before the suspect was killed in a shootout, authorities said Friday.

Jonathan Bennett, 23, fired several shots at officers who had gathered at a parking garage Thursday night and they returned fire, killing him, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said.

‘‘He ambushed us, he shot at us,’’ Putney said.


Officer Casey Shue, who joined the force in 2014, was shot in the leg and taken to a hospital. Shue didn’t fire his weapon, but two other officers did, police spokeswoman Jessica Wallin said.

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The three officers, who are white, have been placed on administrative leave while the department’s internal affairs reviews the shooting. Bennett was black.

Bennett was a suspect in Thursday afternoon’s shooting death of Brittany White, 24, and the abduction of their 2-month-old daughter, Journei Bennett.

An Amber Alert was issued for her and she was found safe. Officials say a second child was found unharmed where White was killed. No other details about the children were immediately available.

Putney did not know why Bennett was near police headquarters.


‘‘It’s obvious he knew that we were looking for him,’’ Putney said.

Putney said investigators were checking to see if there was any surveillance video of the shooting. But he expected no officer body-camera video.

‘‘When you are being ambushed, I doubt you’re going to think to turn on a camera,’’ Putney said.

In a separate development, a North Carolina mother is facing charges after police say she followed her son to school and drew a knife on two teenagers she thought were bullying him.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said 32-year-old Olga Cortez followed her son’s school bus to a middle school Friday.


Police say Cortez got into an argument with two 13-year-old boys who she believed were the bullies. Officials say one of the teens assaulted Cortez, who pulled out a knife. School staff got control of Cortez, who put the knife back in her vehicle.

Police charged Cortez with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and having a weapon on school grounds. The two boys were charged with simple assault.