- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2020

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina police officer and an armed suspect were killed outside a fast food restaurant during a shootout that also left another officer wounded, police said.

The shooting happened late Wednesday night in Concord, a city just northeast of Charlotte.

Authorities identified the slain officer as Officer Jason Shuping, who joined the force last year. The wounded officer was taken to a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, the city’s police department said on its Twitter page.

The Charlotte Observer reported that the shooting happened in the parking lot of a Sonic Drive-in, after a 911 call about a nearby car crash. A passing motorist told responding officers that a man who was on foot had tried to steal her vehicle at the Sonic, police said.

Authorities said that two additional Concord police officers were sent to the Sonic, where they found a man fitting the suspect’s description.

“He pulled out a handgun and began shooting in direction of the officers. We believe this is when the officers sustained their injuries,” Chief Gary J. Gacek said at a news conference.

Gacek said two additional officers then arrived, saw the wounded officers, and fatally shot the suspect.

Concord police did not release the identity of the suspect.

“This loss is devastating not only to the member’s family and loved ones but every police officer across the city, state, and country,” the department said in a statement.

The fatal shooting marks the second time since last week that a police officer was killed near the Charlotte area. Mount Holly Police Officer Tyler Herndon was fatally shot early Friday in Gaston County. A suspect in that shooting is in custody and has been charged with murder.

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